Empowering the Journey: the role of diversity and inclusion in the field of logistics and transportation. A take from Wanderlust Ghana Expedition

Imagine being the sole woman among a dozen men on an epic 6,000-mile road trip. That was the story of Nana Afua Serwaa Adusei, CEO of Auto Shecanic Hub. 

Adusei joined the trip, dubbed Wanderlust Ghana Expedition, as an auto technician.

She participated in the journey from Ghana to as far as Morocco. 

She aimed to expand her automotive skills in diverse terrains and climates, inspiring women to pursue engineering and mechanics careers.

“It was quite different and daring; we wanted to know what obstacles we would encounter concerning logistics and transportation,” said Adusei during her September 28 Advancing Women in Supply Chain webinar. 

The webinar series is an ongoing effort to expand our work in access and inclusion. Promoting women in supply chain is a top priority to achieve CARISCA’s goals and positively impact Ghanaian and African livelihoods.

Adusei’s role in the expedition was to ensure all vehicles functioned properly. 

“I made sure that with my diagnostic tools, if anything should happen, Shecanics will just diagnose and then fix it,” she said during the webinar.

Yes She Can!

People often tag auto mechanics and CEO positions as male-dominated roles, Adusei said.  

“Where I’m from, it’s uncommon to see women in these roles. Similarly, being a mechanic has often been associated with school dropouts or marginalized individuals,” Adusei added.

As the CEO of Auto Shecanic Hub, Adusei is committed to changing perceptions by organizing school visits and providing internships. 

“Anywhere that is seemingly [only] for men, we are making efforts to change that narrative,” she said. “More people now express interest in having their daughters intern or work at our company. 

“It’s a positive shift that signifies change is indeed happening. I believe over time, there will be many more women pursuing careers in male-dominated spaces.”

Navigating Borders

The Wanderlust Ghana team had the privilege of crossing a number of borders during their expedition. However, they encountered obstacles along the way. Adusei recalls spending hours at some borders, enduring lengthy checks and paperwork.

For example, the strict regulations in Mauritania resulted in their detainment at the border for having tinted car windows. This experience taught the team an important lesson in researching local rules when traveling. 

“Besides [making us] pay the fine, authorities still detained us,” said Adusei. “It took the intervention of the Ghanaian embassy to release us after eight to nine hours.”

In Ghana and other member states of the Economic Community of West African States, citizens receive ECOWAS cards. 

“The ECOWAS card is supposed to ensure easy access,” explained Adusei. “However, the cards are not working as effectively as they should.” 

Reasons include limited infrastructure at border checkpoints and inconsistencies in acceptance of the cards across different regions. 

“The only place where the ECOWAS card helped was Senegal,” said Adusei, “because they are advanced and they have the machines to check.” 

Most borders the team crossed lacked ID scanners to read the ECOWAS cards. Instead they had guards stationed near border crossings to manually check passenger IDs.

“Every time we made a stop, we had to show our documentation, and we spent about three hours,” said Adusei. “That is why the man under the tree, lacking the necessary tools and technology, might ask for your passport instead of simply scanning a card for your passage.”

Africa without Borders

Border restrictions also cause economic strains for businesses and governments due to bureaucracy or inconvenience with the transportation of goods, noted Adusei. Some landlocked countries heavily rely on neighboring countries.

For example, as Adusei pointed out, Mali is a landlocked area and relies on goods from countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

“Issues at the borders, such as lengthy paperwork checks, can halt the movements of entire countries,” she explained “This leads to higher fuel prices and increased costs for basics like bread and clothes.”

One commendable aspect in Mauritania and Morocco, said Adusei, was the well-maintained roads in both countries. Even in the deserts, these nations prioritized good roads, understanding their importance in fostering commerce, transportation and the logistics industry. 

“The biggest takeaway [from our expedition] is the importance of smoother borders,” said Adusei.




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