The Minister of chieftaincy and culture, Mr Alex Asum Ahensah, has underscored the importance of culture as a tool for the sustainability of national development.
Speaking in Accra, yesterday, at his outfit when the European Union, (EU) delegation called on him, Mr Ahensah said, 'The chieftaincy and Culture Ministry is young but critical because chieftaincy (Traditional Institution) is the custodian of our cultural heritage and culture represents a set of ways and means through which our people individually or collectively, affirm their identity from generation to generation.'
He expressed government's appreciation to the immense support given by the EU to Ghana in the development of activities in the cultural sector.
He gave the assurance that his ministry is in the process of formulating a strategic plan for the effective coordination and development of its sector and hoped that the EU will continue to further extend its support when approached.
His Excellency Ambassador Sebregondi, the Head of the EU delegation, also noted that in the mid 1980s the EU has financed a broad range of programme projects and events related to African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) culture both in ACP and EU countries which fall into three actions. The National projects on conservation of cultural heritage and support to the living dimension of culture, Regular support to African arts events and festivals (EX FESPACO film festival, DAK'ART contemporary arts fair in Dakar) and support programmes to cultural initiatives.
According to him, under the 9th European Development Fund, which is the main EU funding instrument for ACP countries such as the Cultural Initiatives Support Programme (CISP), Cultural Heritage and Local
Economic Development in Elmina project that is , the renovation of the castle and fort to mention but a few.
He further stated that the six programmes under the 9th European Development fund which are the Ghana Traditional Textiles Project, external works for restoration and redevelopment of parts of Usher-Fort, Regional funds for the promotion of cooperation and cultural exchanges in West Africa and the EU cultural week.
Mr Sebregondi called on the financial and managerial capacities of ACP cultural operators and cultural industries, with 8 financial assistance from the EU ACP support programme to cultural industries in ACP Countries (2.3 MEUR).
However, overall objective of the programme is to contribute to development and structuring of audiovisual, cinema and television industries in ACP states in order to optimise their capacity to create and distribute their own images and products, and to enhance the promotion of ACP cultural diversity, cultural identity and inter-cultural dialogue.
In a related development, the minister has tasked the staff of the ministry to rise up to the challenge to work extra hard to uplift the image of the outfit and the Arts and culture industry in general.