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16.02.2007 General News

Ghana And Britain To Deepen Cultural Links


Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Thursday joined the visiting Deputy British Prime Minister, Mr John Prescott, to kick-start a three-million pound cultural relations programme between Ghana and Britain that would span three years.

Dubbed: 'Africa 2007: A Celebration Of Culture and Identity' is the brainchild of the British Council that would focus on identity and culture, education, intercultural exchange and dialogue among 11 African countries and the UK.

The three link themes of the programme: 'Creative Celebrations', 'Different Lives' and 'Footprints', would engage young people, professionals, musicians and artists from various backgrounds in exchange and other interactive events.

Vice President Mahama said the multilateral programme would offer the opportunity to young people from Africa and the UK to interact and learn from each other and foster greater mutual understanding.

'I applaud the British Council for its steadfast work in Ghana and the rest of Africa and on this occasion for its bold and wise decision to focus most of its Africa 2007 programme on young people, the future of any nation'.

He said these international exchanges would enable the beneficiaries to contribute to a foundation in their lives that would enable them to make positive contributions in the future to their communities, countries and in an increasingly interconnected world to the global community.

Mr Prescott acknowledged the significance of Ghana's Golden Jubilee celebrations this year, which he said symbolised the first country in Africa to break from European colonisation.

He said 2007 would mark the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act passed in the UK.

Mr Prescott said the programme was linked to many activities planned in the UK; Bristol, Hull, Liverpool and London, all of which have strong historical links with the slave trade and were marking the abolition of the slave trade.

On March 25, Reflections, part of the Africa 2007, would be stage at Elmina Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mr Prescott said the event would be broadcasted to cities in the UK, linking audiences and artists in commemoration. He said his official interaction with children in Ghana had revealed that they were very bright to uphold the development of the country.

Mr Prescott lauded as brilliant, a question a pupil asked him about the future of school children in Zimbabwe.

He acclaimed Ghana as the 'Black Star' of Africa that was still leading the way in the fight against slavery, poverty and underdevelopment.

Mr Moses Anibaba, Director of British Council, Ghana, said the bicentenary of the Act of Parliament to abolish the slave trade across the then British empire ushered in a new beginning: 'A beginning of the reversal of one of the most brutal and inhuman enterprises ever known to man'.

'In Africa, the past does matter. It explains the present and no nation can move forward without it'.

Mr Anibaba said Africa 2007 hoped to demystify and challenge age-old perceptions that Africa is forever dependent on the UK and the West for its success and future.