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21.09.2005 General News

West African Artisans General Assembly opens

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Accra, Sept. 21, GNA - The Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare on Wednesday underscored the urgent need for constant upgrading of skills of artisans to enhance their productivity.

She also stressed the transformation of their operations to have a more formal business approach that would enable them to benefit from capital they required to expand.

Addressing the Fifth General Assembly of West African Artisans in Accra, Mrs Osei-Opare observed that the Sub-Region was blessed with talented artisans and given the needed conducive policy environment and reforms, they would play a significant role in the development of the various economies.

"It is extremely crucial for our governments to reform policies and strategies that will enhance the performances of this sector particularly in job creation and to meet challenges confronting the professionals.

The three-day conference on the theme: " Promotion and Sustainable Development of Artisans in the West African Region-the Pivot for Economic Development" is being attended by participants from Ghana, Benin, Niger, Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso among other countries. It would create a platform for the delegates to discuss how best members could harness and develop their individual capabilities and fashion ways of dealing with problems militating against the growth of the industry.

Mrs Osei-Opare said the Government would take steps to ensure that artisans played meaningful roles towards socio-economic development and created jobs particularly to serve the youth.

"It is for this reason that the Ministry is pursuing skills and training at different levels both through the formal and informal sectors."

Mrs Rose Karikari Anan, Executive Secretary of Ghana Employers' Association, said the Association was bent on supporting the artisans to develop and expand their production base as well as their market frontiers.

She noted that since the informal sector generated a large chunk of the workforce, it was imperative to develop the sector to create wealth and generate employment.

Mrs Anan urged the network of artisans in the Sub-Region to foster trade among member countries, as it was necessary to sustain their businesses.

Mr Ralph Ameyaw, Executive Secretary, Council of Indigenous Business Association (CIBA), noted that the development of artisans had been stifled by inadequate capital.

He observed that an effective database would facilitate tax collection to provide the Government with sufficient revenue to carry out development projects.

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