Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner to Ghana, addressing the conference
Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner to Ghana, addressing the conference

Creative Arts industry, SMEs key to economic transformation — British High Commissioner

The cultural,creative arts industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are key to the country’s economic transformation, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, has said.

She said according to a research by the UN, the creative industry has been identified to shape cultural values and behaviour, which then fosters positive change.

At a three-day ASPEN Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) conference 2023 in Accra last Thursday, Ms Thompson said research further stated that the culture and creative industries were among the fastest-growing sectors in the world with an estimated global value of $4.3 trillion per year.

Ms Thompson said the culture sector accounted for 6.1 per cent of the global economy, generating an estimated annual revenue of $2.25 trillion.

She added that the sector created 13 million jobs worldwide, employing more people aged 15 to 29 than any other sector.

“The sector is key in ensuring inclusive economic growth, reducing inequalities and achieving the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Here in West Africa, the creative industry has helped reduce the poverty rate by seven per cent in the last decade,” she said.

The conference brought together investors, entrepreneurs and players in the creative arts industry from 25 countries, to network and discuss ways to ensure growth and sustainability for businesses.

Economic situation

Ms Thompson said the world was behind track in meeting the SDGs by 2023 and urged countries to do better, stressing that the growth of SMEs was part of the solution.

Owing to the global challenging economic period, which was a combination of high inflation and limited access to finance, she said it had become tough for businesses to thrive.

To that end, she said the priority of the British government was to drive economic transformation to allow more to work in better and higher paying industries.

She indicated that the UK was supporting Ghanaian businesses and entrepreneurs to drive economic transformation.

“Our trade partnership with women which we signed in 2021 is the foundation.

It provides an entirely duty free and port free access for all goods exported from Ghana onto the UK market.

She expressed gratitude to ANDE for their work over many years to understand problems in the business sector and promoting solutions in that regard.

Financial support

The Executive Director, Retail and Digital banking at Access Bank, Pearl Nkrumah, said the Access Bank was empowering women in business, providing an enabling platform for them to survive and to thrive.

 “We work with partners to empower and grow small businesses and create a sustainable environment for entrepreneurs, so it is not just the financing which is our core job.

“We prepare them to be investor ready, connect them to the right partners and networks and build capacities for SMEs,” she said.

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