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29.10.2008 General News

EU donates GH¢300,000 for cultural development

By The Statesman

The European Union has donated a sum of GH¢300,000 to the government of Ghana to enhance cultural development under the Cultural Initiative Support Programme.

The amount, which forms part of the two million Euro grant  the EU promised under the  European Development Fund, is to help  make up for the shortfalls and weaknesses in implementing Ghana's cultural policy.

It also aims at developing human capacity through knowledge sharing, information dissemination, and analysis.

Launching the Cultural Initiative Support Programme yesterday before the donation in Accra, the head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Ute Moehring, stated that the EU acknowledged the fundamental role of culture in the various African societies in relation to the European Agenda.

 "Culture is recognized as an important part of EU cooperation programmes with Africa', he stressed.

'The European commission and its 27-member states have a strong mandate to support culture in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries under Act 27 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement', he noted.

The Agreement, he said, provided a comprehensive framework for cultural cooperation such as mainstreaming of culture in development activities, promoting intellectual dialogue, preserving cultural heritage, supporting cultural industries, and improving access to European markets for ACP cultural goods and services.

Ambassador Moehring mentioned some of the activities being undertaken as the national project on conservation of cultural heritage and support to the living dimension of culture and regular support to African arts and festivals with regional dimension.

He mentioned the others as the support programmes to cultural initiative which aim at strengthening the innovative and organizational capacity of cultural actors like artists, private operators, museums, and local authorities.

According to him, the National Commission on Culture would be granted two million Euro over a period of three-and-a-half years for the cultural initiative support programme under the ninth European Development Fund.

'The EC attends to the national cultural strategy of Ghana by funding activities in the areas of human resource development, employment and income generation, research and support to non-state actors from the cultural sector,' he said.

The Programme, he said,  should in the end help to create a pool of information and inventory of cultural initiatives, develop capacities and skills of individual artists, practitioners and existing local cultural institutions.

It should increase dialogue and consultation between non-governmental stakeholders, authorities and the private sector, sensitize and mobilize all relevant players in the cultural domain and ensure the realization of cultural initiatives through a grant-giving mechanism.

In his remarks, the programme coordinator of CISP, Kwasi Gyan Apenteng, said one of the objectives of the programme was to create work and wealth towards poverty eradication.

'To achieve this objective, the programme will provide GH¢16,000 being the maximum grants to individuals and organizations to undertake their creative and artistic endeavours,' he stated.

The grants are provided for broad categories which include cultural heritage, performing arts, fine art and craft, film and audio-visual art, language and literary arts.

The grant is intended for individuals and organizations whose primary occupation is in the arts and culture field.