The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, has expressed worry over the neglect of the arts and crafts industry in the country.
According to him, the industry has contributed immensely towards the growth of the national economy for the past decade.
However, Mr Vanderpuije said due to the lack of sustained investment in the relevant infrastructure for the industry, both the growth and revenues from the industry had dwindled considerably in the past five years.
The deputy minister made this observation during the launch of the Ouagadougou International Arts and Handicrafts (SIAO) Fair 2014 Launch in Accra on Thursday.
He indicated that the relevance of the industry was underscored by the employment it offered to many Ghanaian youth.
In spite of these, Mr Vanderpuije assured Ghanaians that government had put plans in place to re-engineer the sector.
“Government has accordingly defined a strategic intervention programme for handicrafts in its newly adopted National Export Strategy (NES),” he said.
He noted that his outfit had also commissioned a technical committee to design and implement an integrated work plan that would revive all the craft villages in the country.
SIAO 2014 Launch
The SIAO Fair, which would take place in October this year in Ghana, would bring together artisans, producers, African exporters, visitors and professional shoppers to create the platform for the promotion of African handicrafts.
The forum would also be used to promote and facilitate the organisation of artistic and cultural events on the continent.
Mr Vanderpuije indicated that SIAO 2014 would offer an opportunity to showcase to the world what Africans had.
He said the organisation of the fair would boost the economy of Ghana and Burkina Faso, and strengthen the strong ties between both countries.
He further called on the media to give prominence to the fair, adding that journalists were expected to report extensively on it since they were the main stakeholders.
Theme for the celebration
The acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, said the theme for the celebration: “African Handicraft, Female Entrepreneurship and Social Protection,” would acknowledge the contribution of women on the continent.
He said, “The theme sought to acknowledge the role of the woman in handicraft and in the promotion of the emergence of women entrepreneurship in Africa.”
Mr Quarcoo said women represented about 52 per cent of Africa’s artisan population, and their numbers in recent times had grown rapidly.