Funds allocated to culture is woefully inadequate to support activities and contributions towards national development, Mr Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture on Monday said.
“The lack of appreciation for the immense potential of the sector to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product, good governance, building of national identity, integrity and branding has been a challenge,” he added.
Mr Asum-Ahensah made the observation at the opening session of a six-day culture management training workshop for 25 participants drawn from the arts and culture industry in Accra.
The workshop is aimed at fostering communication dialogue and cooperation among cultural practitioners and managers in Ghana and Spain.
In addition, it will assist in building the capacity of the participants to assess contribution and impact on the socio-economic welfare of the citizenry.
It was jointly organised by the Spanish Agency of International Development Co-operation, Embassy of Spain and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) with support from Ghana’s National Commission on Culture.
Mr Asum-Ahensah said culture played pivotal role in national development, given that sustainable development could only be culturally-based, and because the sector (culture) itself was the embodiment of people’s way of life.
He noted that over the years, countries including Ghana had perceived culture and the sector in the scheme of national development as merely music and dance.
“Such misconceptions in Ghana had resulted in the exclusion of the sector’s contribution towards socio-economic growth,” he said.
Mr Asum-Ahensah said the role of the sector had been practically overlooked in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy I and II.
He expressed hope that the workshop would not only enhance government’s efforts at job creation in the creativity industry but also build the capacity to assess the sector’s contribution to impact on the socio-economic welfare of the citizenry.
Ms Mojisola Okuribido-Seriki, Regional Advisor for Culture, UNESCO, said the organisation had developed several tools and capacity building activities to pursue global culture, development agenda and to guide national efforts.
She noted that it was important to acknowledge the interaction between culture and development to promote social cohesion, individual and collective self-assertion and strengthening cultural identities to creating a conductive environment for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
“It is a recognised fact the cultural dimension in development priorities, reinforcing national ownership of development initiatives,” she added.
Ms Okuribido-Seriki said UNESCO was coming up with the City Forum on Culture and Development programme scheduled for November in Accra this year in collaboration with civil society, government and development partners.
The forum is to strategize on efforts to put cultural and creative industries at the heart of Ghana’s national policy agenda by exploring development policies, funding modalities and programming approaches.
Mr Akunu Dake, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Development, speaking on the topic: “Cultural Development in the Local Context”, called for partnership in the development and promotion of the cultural sector.
Participants would be taken through cultural design, development and evaluation of cultural policies and projects.