HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ENDORSES STUDY ON EU-ECOWAS TRADE IN CULTURAL GOODS & SERVICES

A student stands in front of a work by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo: Toni Gauther/arts.stanford.edu/ - See more at: http://afkinsider.com/105533/opinion-africans-should-see-culture-the-same-way-they-see-mining-and-oil/#sthash.SGTxADLw.dpuf

High-Level Conference endorses study on EU-ECOWAS trade in cultural goods & services

The conference was held in Accra from the 22nd-23rd of October

Affirming the role of the culture sector in sustainable economic development, regional integration and poverty reduction

A High-Level conference on trade in cultural services between the EU and ECOWAS countries which took place in Accra from the 22nd-23rd of October has endorsed a study which would be used as the basis for developing trade-related culture & creative arts policies, and to lobby governments in the sub-region to support the culture & arts sector within the ECOWAS sub-region. The report was a comprehensive analysis of the different culture sectors in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, identifying their weaknesses and strength and to advocate for key recommendations for engaging the culture sector within the context of the ECOWAS – EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).  The report found out that the culture sector in West Africa faces a number of challenges stunting its growth. Amongst these include the absence of effective laws to enforce intellectual property rights infringement of artists, visa restrictions by European countries to enable artists from West Africa to perform on European markets, the poor quality of artistic works from some artists, lack of policy and regulations to support the sector’s growth, the lack of funding for artists and the absence of strong business associations to lobby on behalf of culture service providers.

The two-day conference organised by the Centre for Culture and African Studies (CeCast), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in collaboration with other arts & culture stakeholders from the West African region.

In an address to participants at the conference, Ms Dzifa Gomashie, Deputy-Minister of Culture, Creative Arts & Tourism, noted that the conference is necessary to facilitate dialogue with the academic community, artists associations, government officials and key artistic groups from the ECOWAS region on the role of the culture sector in sustainable economic development, regional integration and poverty reduction. She also reiterated the determination of government to continue to support the creative arts sector recognising it as a key contributor to economic growth.  In support of the Deputy Ministers’ address, the representative of UNESCO in Ghana, Mr. Carl Ampah called on developed countries to grant preferential treatment to artists and other cultural professionals from developing countries in visa acquisitions, as well as market access to their cultural goods and services. He also called on governments from the sub-region to sign up to UNESCO Conventions to help breath a new lease of life into the culture & arts sector in the subregion.

In a keynote address, Mrs Vesta Adu-Gyamfi, Head of the Centre for Culture and African Studies (CeCast), KNUST noted that the conference is necessary to facilitate dialogue with the academic community, artists associations, government officials and key artistic groups from the ECOWAS region on the role of the culture sector in sustainable economic development, regional integration and poverty reduction.

The Director of Literature and Performing Arts at the Gambia National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Sheik Omar Jallow said the NCAC was glad to be  partner of this initiative which has resulted in the Gambian Growth Competitiveness Project, a World Bank funded project starting to process small-scale funding for artists in Gambia. Other partners present at the meeting were the Sierra Leone Film Guild (SILFILM Guild) and Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture, and the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP)

Participants at the conference include the National Culture Commissions, UNESCO, Ministry of Culture Creative Arts & Tourism, Ministry of Trade, the ECOWAS Commission, Film & Theatre Producers Assocs, Independent Film Producers, designers, schools of performing arts, parliamentarians and civil society organisations in the culture & arts sector. The conference was organised thanks to the support and assistance of the ACPCultures+ Programme, implemented by the ACP Group of States and financed by the European Union. For more information www.cecast-knust.com.

October 30, 2015
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