LAST Saturday, November 24, Ghana had pride of place on the African entertainment scene as it hosted the fifth edition of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) at the Accra International Conference Centre(AICC).
From Wednesday, November 21 till the 24th when the main awards were handed out to deserving artistes across the continent, the spotlight was on Ghana as the country hosted several activities including a music business summit and a concert as part of the AFRIMA package.
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Although many have given thumbs up for how the event went, there have been complaints from stakeholders including the President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bice Osei Kuffour, popularly known as Obour, who felt they were sidelined in the whole process.
In a chat with Showbiz last Tuesday about Ghana’s performance at AFRIMA, Obour, expressed disappointment at how poorly the nation’s entertainment industry was treated.
He said as the mother body for musicians, he had expected the organisers to consult and collaborate with MUSIGA but that did not happen as the Nigerian organisers kept their firm hold on things.
He disclosed that after a lot of complaints, the organisers set up a local committee but its mandate was virtually non- existent since members were left in the dark about preparations and decisions taken.
“Can you imagine that I attended the business summit as a guest and not part of the committee, which shouldn’t be so? Apart from MUSIGA, other relevant music stakeholders were left out and that wasn’t the best,” Obour said.
He clearly was not the only one peeved as renowned sound engineer, Fred Kyei Mensah of Fredyma Studios also raised similar concerns to Showbiz.
He said it was unfortunate Nigeria had to fully be in charge when Ghana was hosting the event.
He argued that since Ghana had the requisite skill to equally handle the event, it was a belittling of its capabilities that it was left out of the organisation.
Mr Kyei Mensah however commended Ghana for successfully hosting AFRIMA and boosting its image on the continent.
Ghana’s hosting of AFRIMA has not been without drama. Some industry players were not happy about the Tourism Ministry's financial support for the event.
Prior to the event, sector minister, Madam Catherine Afeku disclosed that government intended to invest $4.5 million to host AFRIMA for three years. For this year's edition, the minister said they had invested $700,000.
This did not go down well with the industry folks who believe there are more important areas in the Ghanaian creative arts space that need attention instead of spending on AFRIMA which, for them, is not a priority.
However, Country Director, AFRIMA, Ghana, Francis Doku, said the country stood to benefit from hosting the AFRIMA.
He told Showbiz a lot of work needed to be done to drive home the importance of Ghana being awarded the hosting rights for AFRIMA.
“What Ghana stands to gain as hosts is that it puts the spotlight on Ghana. All over Africa, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, everyone in music and creative arts was talking about Ghana.
"That is something we can leverage as a nation to improve our tourism efforts.”
“Again, AFRIMA provided an opportunity for our artistes to engage with and network with other artistes and business leaders in the music industry in Africa and beyond.
"The potential of this helping improve their business is obvious,” he stated.