BACKGROUND ANALYSIS AND RATIONALE FOR INNOVATION
The construction industry is a vital sector of any economy since infrastructural development forms one of the indicators used in measuring a country's development. One of the most essential commodities in the building sector is cement. Cement consumed in Ghana is produced from imported clinker and gypsum from Togo, Middle East and Europe.
Cement utilisation in Ghana had increased from 1.8 million tonnes in 2000 to about 3.2 million tonnes in 2011. More than US$300 million is spent annually on clinker and cement importation in Ghana.
Correspondingly, price of cement had risen from GH¢8.5 in 2008 to about GH¢20.00 in 2013 and continues to increase annually. This high cost of cement and other building materials poses a great challenge to housing delivery, culminating in the current housing deficit of about 1,500,000. This had worsened the housing situation in Ghana leading to squatter communities and slums, especially in the large cities, creating very serious and challenging environmental problems.
There was, therefore, the need to reduce this dependence on expensive imported cement and rather concentrate on the production and use of alternative and durable local cementitious materials for housing delivery. This led to the research on development of pozzolana from local resources.
Some objectives of this innovation, among others, are as follows:
• To replace cement by between 30%-40%
• To reduce cost of cement by 18-20%
• To reduce clinker imports, if used commercially, by US$30 million annually, hence, conserving foreign exchange
• To generate employment