Business News of Friday, 26 October 2018
Ghana Export Promotion Authority is coordinating the participation of over 30 exhibitors in the 15th edition of the SIAO, which opened in the Burkina Faso Capital, Ougadougou on Friday.
Held biennially in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the International Arts and Crafts Fair, known as Le Salon International de L’Artisanant de Ouagadougou (SIAO) in French, is one of Africa’s most important trade shows for arts and handicrafts.
It shows a wide variety of artistic expression of African creativity, skills, beauty and functionality which also informs the world about Africa’s historical origins and cultural heritage.
This year’s edition, which also coincided with the 30th-anniversary celebration since the institution of the fair, is on the theme: “African Handicrafts, Market Requirements and Technological Development.”
Mrs Theodora Froko, Director of Handicrafts at GEPA, underscored the importance of the industrial art and craft sub-sector to Ghana’s non-traditional export sector in creating jobs and employment.
Export earnings from the sub-sector increased by 100 percent from 5.22 million in 2016 to $10.411 million in 2017. The sub-sector contributed 0.41 percent to total earnings of the non-traditional exports.
She said it was in this direction that GEPA with the support of government was making every effort that the players in the handicraft sector employed modern means in producing their products and also got enough training in design and marketing.
Mrs Froko said Ghana had seen consistent improvement in performance, quality and variety as well as standards of the products through the participation in fairs over the years.
“As we speak GEPA has brought in a design and marketing consultant to help the practitioners to up their game,” she said, adding that work on various handicraft projects, including the Aburi Craft Village whose first phase had been completed and others across the country were progressing steadily.
Mrs Froko said GEPA had recognised the need to improve the designs of Ghanaian handicraft and also help them to acquire knowledge of the export business so that Ghanaian products could compete on the world market.
She said the objective of the training was to improve productive skills, expose producers to the intricacies of the business and give skills in handicraft production and marketing.
Ghana will mark its day at the Fair on Tuesday to showcase its products to the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the opening session was attended by the President of Burkina Faso, Christian Roch Marc Kabore and the Governor General of Canada Julie Payette besides several members of the government, the National Assembly, civil and administrative personalities.
The President of the National Assembly Alassane Balla Sakandé, during his speech, noted the need for the introduction of a prize in honour of former head of state Thomas Sankara , who started the initiative of the Salon, but murdered in 1987, a few months before the first edition in February 1988.
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Handicrafts of Burkina Faso Harouna Kaboré called on artisans to adopt modern technologies to improve on the quality of their products to be able to penetrate the international market.
However, he said, the African modernisation agenda should not lose sight of the “essential hand factor” of the activity, which can “bring a lot” to Africa.
He lauded the contributions of artisans, saying they were important players in the economic development of the African continent and urged them to up their game to meet international requirements.
At least 3,500 exhibitors and 19 African countries are participating in the 15th edition of SIAO 2018.
Madagascar is the guest of honour of SIAO 2018.The fair is running from October 26 to November 4.