Richard Seshie

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Richard Seshie was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Seventy percent of Ghana’s population lives in rural areas and the lack of a viable transportation system in these areas makes it difficult for many to access basic amenities such as water, firewood and food from the market. The lack of such a system compounds difficulties for farmers who struggle to get their goods from farms to the primary market. Richard’s transportation solution solves this problem, which he refers to as the first mile challenge. The first mile is the distance between an individual and the first points necessary to supporting their livelihood.

Richard has created a transportation system around the agricultural value chain that simultaneously solves the first mile challenge for farmers while creating employment opportunities for young people in rural areas. This system uses cargo motorbikes that can transport more goods and people across distances than is possible on foot or bicycle. He has created a network of drivers with these motorbikes, located in strategic spots that provide transportation services to the community. These drivers charge a small fee, with prices kept low by high competition amongst motorbike drivers within a geographic area, thereby increasing the quantity of goods that can be taken to market and ultimately, the net return to the farmer. When they are not transporting produce for farmers, these drivers transport people, firewood and water to and from homes at affordable rates.

Although Richard came at this idea from the perspective of farmers (the demand side), he is now also working on the opportunities that the supply side (transportation providers) presents. He is now building out the network of drivers so as to increase employment opportunities in rural areas. In addition, he is also working with the producers of these motorbikes to expand employment opportunities within the production chain of these motorbikes and in terms of maintenance services.

Richard has completed the pilot phase of his model in one region of Northern Ghana and is now ready to take his idea to scale across the country.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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