The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the government is determined to tap the full potential of the creative and performing arts industry to promote national development.
In furtherance of this, the government will promote the literary arts by encouraging Ghanaian writers and publishers to produce books that portray the country’s rich culture.
The government will also support the National Dance Ensemble, the Ghana Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre in their operations.
Delivering his address at the annual musical celebration of the Ghana International School (GIS), President Akufo-Addo said: “We are committed to building multi-purpose theatres in Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale. It is sad that it has taken this long but we shall make good this omission in our artistic infrastructure.
“The government intends to set up a robust film authority to support local film producers to create the base for a vibrant movie economy like what we have in Nollywood in Nigeria,” the President added.
He observed that Ghana had an abundance of talents that could be nurtured to compete on the world stage.
“The music industry is going to be given a boost to meet its potential. We will support and enforce anti-piracy laws for the industry in order to protect our musicians,” Nana Akufo-Addo stated.
He said the country was blessed with creative artistes who were respected worldwide but said it was unfortunate that as a nation “we have not done a good job in rewarding them appropriately”.
In other parts of the world, the President observed, creative artistes were among the highest earners because the valuable contributions they made in their cultural definitions were amply recognised and rewarded.
“It is time we created the enabling atmosphere for our artistes to enjoy the fruits of their creative enterprise,” he stated.
“Our composers, painters, film makers, writers, musicians, sculptors, actors and actresses contribute immensely to our advancement as a nation and it is for this reason that supporting the industry that is giving the arts and culture the attention and incentives to flourish is an important focus of mine,” he noted.
He also observed that the most beautiful books on Ghana’s culture were predominantly written by foreigners or published abroad and said his government intended to support the book industry to promote local authorship.
“Music, as we all know, plays an important part in our lives in Ghana. It is personal, it is national. I love music, especially Highlife, and at every chance I listen and dance to Amakye Dede, Daddy Lumba, Kwabena Kwabena, among many others. Music has made Ghana famous,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.
He said the contributions by Ghanaian music producers to the industry also deserved commendation.
He recounted that in the 1950s, E.T. Mensah, the King of Highlife, put Ghana on the world musical map, while in the 1990s Reggie Rockstone did his bit by creating Hiplife — a fusion of Highlife and Hip-Hop.
He noted that every aspect of Ghanaian life told an imaginative story, saying: “We tell stories through our fabrics. Every Kente design has a narrative. Every dumas cloth has a name.
“Our crafts, films, music and festivals all tell stories about our lives and our beliefs. We have a lot to tell the world. Ours is a captivating story and we can make it the success story of the continent.
“From the intricate welcoming of the ‘Kpodziemor’, through the confident ruing of the ‘Dipo’ maidens, the celebration of harvest, a rousing farewell for our deities, ours is a story well telling.
“We have the opportunity to build a new Ghanaian civilisation that will be the beacon of Africa and the light of the world,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
Ghana International School
The President commended the authorities of the GIS for making the annual musical celebration a permanent feature on the school calendar.
He stated that there was improvement in literacy rates among young people who took part in drama activities, adding that research had also shown that young people performed better in Mathematics and languages when they took part in structured musical activities.
“It means a full education is one that encompasses not just direct learning but all aspects of life, including the material, cultural, religious and psychological. We need rounded personalities to build happy, interesting communities,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.