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Ways to improve Ghana’s creative industry

 Art is the life of a nation and Ghana is brimming with creative talents.

It's not enough to have talent. Talent must be useful for both growth and development if it is to achieve its purpose.Ghana is custodian of unique Arts and Cultural heritage. It's one of the nation’s claims to fame. 

What are we doing with this treasure bestowed on us to change our fortunes for good?

What is the dynamic relation between the creative industry and the rest of the economy?

These are questions that need addressing between government and practitioners in particular.

Ghana is signatory to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

This convention makes demand for more investment in the creative and cultural spaces with the objective of giving creative products a wider market access, encouraging cross cultural exchange as well as trade.

Through the Arts, cultural knowledge is passed on one generation to another.

Creatives use cultural ideas embedded in the people's philosophy and beliefs of life to develop valuable things  which have been used for social, religious and economic stabilization of countries.

The state stands to make huge financial returns from the creative industry if it is given its rightful place on
the national agenda.

In other parts of the world, a major contributing factor to academic, economic and industrial success is the knowledge of the Arts and its application to the development of human and material resources for nation building.

Knowledge of creative industry results from active participation in creative activities in schools, primary and secondary school levels. When Arts is relegated to the background or neglected as it's been done in our parts, we not only lose our identity, we also self-obstruct our growth, development and advancement. 

The Arts are broad in scope and are applied in various capacities and dimensions.

Thus, the importance of the role of the Arts cannot be underestimated. They are specifically and purposefully used in the development of children and also as a tool for social engineering. 

Arts are Instrument of religious and moral indoctrination, education, manufacturing of products, for expression or communication of ideas and emotions as well as Instrument for the expansion of experiences.

They are also a great source of inspiration, which we all need, that we may hold on to hope.

This means paying particular attention to industry as a resource and most importantly investing in it. 

Over the years there's been growing demand from the creative class to be offered their rightful place on the economic growth ladder. This requires the state to begin to invest seriously in our creative industry.

There's need to design programmes to support the growth of the film, television, theatre Music Visual Arts and crafts to drive job creation and economic growth.

The states needs to enhance the educational curriculum to allow students to appreciate the relevance of arts and culture in life and national development. Recognised creative bodies like the Ghana Association of Writers, (GAW) Musicians of Ghana Association (MUSIGHA), National Film Authority (NFA), National Theatre, Ghana Union of Visual Arts (GUVA), Women in Film and Television Ghana among others must necessarily be resourced.

Regulation to protect the copyright of artistes and ensure receipt of value for their works by enforcing the payment of user fees under the Copyright Regulations, 2010 (L.I. 1962) ought to be strengthened. A legal aid system for creatives to help fight creative/intellectual theft and plagiarism by others should be set up given the creative arts law and implementation began for further promotion and development of the industry.

Abibigromma- Resident Theatre Company, UG

The national museums must be adequately resourced and empowered to function properly to create space for exhibitions and promote local patronage of various creative products.

The state can partner with GUVA and other fine arts associations to purchase their finished works to 
furnish and decorate public spaces to support their businesses.

In collaboration with the NFA, our embassies and high commissions overseas can encourage promotion of local content by periodically showing appropriate Ghanaian films on Ghana Day and other special national occasions. Again, the state in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Writers can establish a national writing contest to support the promotion of literary works.

Furthermore, the state can make special provision from the creative arts fund for needy and aged creatives.

The development of programmes to harness talents and potential in the industry is vital as well as making available scholarship packages for disadvantaged creative artistes to pursue courses or programmes for self-development in the national interest. 

Negotiations with banks to make loan facilities accessible to creatives to produce, expand, market and export their work is long overdue.

However, if we are to export our local content, it must be competitive and must meet international standards. The creative industry cannot achieve this target without the crucial support of the state.

Indeed, some significant milestones have been achieved towards the advancement of the sector, however there's a need to achieve far more than significant growth. There's further need to broaden, regularise and support the sector widely.

The wide range of job opportunities in the creative sector can go a long way to help reduce unemployment. 

For every modern economy to thrive, it must necessarily reorient its economic policy support for the input of creativity to derive the output of intellectual property. Government ought to expedite action on policy, attention, provision and implementation in order to achieve this.

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