THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC), through the European Development Fund (EDF), has given a grant of ¢24 billion to support Ghanaian culture and the arts.
The money, which would be used for the Cultural Initiatives Support Programme (CISP), is also to stimulate the development of the arts and cultural expressions in all their diversity as an engine for economic development and poverty reduction at the national, local and individual level.
The Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Ghana, His Excellency Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said, with the inception of CISP, the European Commission intends to support the National Cultural Strategy of Ghana by funding activities in the areas of human resources development, employment and income generation, research and support to non state actors from the cultural sector.
Civil Society organisations, he said, were the main target group of this programme because of their undeniable commitment to the development of democracy and the furtherance of fundamental values, such as national unity within the context of large ethnical diversity.
Mr. Sebregondi, placing the new programme in the larger context of the European Commission's support to culture, said, “At the international level, there is growing recognition of the necessity to take culture into account in public policies and notably in external relations and development policy.”
This he explained, had led to the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in October 2005.
He stated that in terms of financial support for culture in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, the EC was proposing an EU-ACP Cultural Fund which would support the distribution of ACP audio-visual goods both at local level and at the level of access to European markets.
With the growth of the tourism industry, the cultural sector in Ghana has the potential to play an increasing economic role, he said.
He therefore wished the National Commission on Culture (NCC), and the newly recruited staff in the Programme management Unit all the best for the implementation of this promising and ambitious programme.
The Chairman of NCC, Professor George Hagan, in a brief remark said, “the main work of CISP is to make grants to various organizations and individuals engaged in cultural work and initiatives to assist them to realise their objectives.”
These activities, he outlined, would mainly be in the areas of Manpower development; Employment/income generation; Cultural agreements; Research; and Support to artistic groups and programmes.
The main target group of the activities of the commission shall be the cultural sector, i.e. cultural associations and foundations, individual artistes and groups of practitioners necessary for the proper functioning of the cultural sector.Prof. Hagan promised that the money would be used judiciously, to achieve its purpose.