WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY H0NOURABLE ELIZABETH OFOSU –ADJARE, MINISTER OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS AT THE VALIDATION WORKSHOP FOR THE INVENTORY ON CULTURAL PROPERTIES, MONDAY 24TH MARCH, 2014.

DISTINGUISHED TEAM FROM THE AU COMMISSION BASED IN ETHIOPIA AND THE AU REPRESENTATIVE IN GHANA,
THE UNESCO REPRESENTATIVE,
OUR ESTEEMED CULTURAL EXPERTS FROM AFRICA AND EUROPE,
CULTURAL EXPERTS AND PRACTITIONERS FROM GHANA,
DISTINGUISHED PARTICIPANTS,
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I am privileged and honored to welcome you all to this historic workshop on the Validation of Inventory on Cultural Properties in Africa. This will serve as a milestone in the cooperation activities between Africa and Europe with regards to Cultural Goods.

 

I am reliably informed that this exercise is under the Joint Africa-European Union Strategy Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights. This clearly demonstrates the attention Africa gives to the protection and promotion of its cultural properties.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the human society is dynamic. Since pre-historic times, societies have evolved through discoveries, inventions and exchanges. This resulted in a wide range of artificial creations and productions among communities. Some of these cultural items are of such outstanding universal value that nations have made it a duty or responsibility to preserve them for posterity. This is referred to as “cultural heritage”, which is the adoption of various man-made objects or exploited spaces of the past, for today’s use, being mindful of future users.
Despite the efforts of nations towards the conservation and restoration of these cultural properties, modernization, marked by globalization, is putting their unique heritage under serious risk. The global nature of the threats to cultural heritage has necessitated global efforts to fight them. Thus, there is the need for joint partnership among nations for the inventory and preservation of our heritage. This is the reason why my Ministry attaches immense importance to this historic workshop.
This is the age and time when massive resources in men and materials are needed to rescue and sustain Africa’s movable and immovable heritage. This heritage is endangered by environmental degradation, unplanned development projects, natural disasters, inadequate protective laws and administrative frameworks, warfare, conflict and vandalism, etc. Something needs to be done urgently and I hope this workshop will be able to find solutions for our governments to implement.

Ladies and gentlemen, the choice of Ghana as host of this workshop, I believe, was well thought of. Ghana abounds in cultural heritage properties. These include tangible objects like the numerous immovable ancient Forts and Castles along the coast as well as the traditional palaces, walls and shrines in the hinterland. These cultural properties also include the numerous movable artifacts exhibited in our National and Regional Museums all over the country. These places and objects need to be developed for educational and tourism purposes, keeping in mind to preserve their authenticity and outstanding universal values for posterity.

Ghana is poised to mainstream culture for national development. In this regard the Ministry is spearheading the campaign to institutionalize local content in all our human endeavours. Emphasis is placed on eating what we grow because of their nutritional value and creating more employment for Ghanaian farmers; wearing made in Ghana textiles to boost our fashion industry, using local materials in manufacturing, industry and housing etc. The Ministry’s mandate is to provide a firm, stable policy environment for effective mainstreaming of Ghanaian culture into all aspects of national life. It is also tasked to ensure the strong emergence of a vibrant creative economy to improve and advance the tourism industry.

I learnt that this workshop is to discuss and ascertain the accuracy and veracity of an inventory of cultural properties across Africa, made by a group of cultural consultants. It is also to arrive at suggestions and recommendations on the way forward in the cultural cooperation between the European Union and Africa arising from the report of the inventory of all on-going Cooperative Activities between Africa and Europe with regards to cultural goods.

Distinguished Participants, it is my sincere hope that this 3 day validation workshop, which is organized by the African Union Commission, in close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will achieve great success for the development and promotion of cultural heritage in Africa.

Since this workshop will be followed by another workshop which is a “National Campaign for Cultural Renaissance for the Republic of Ghana”, I wish to assure the AU Commission of Ghana’s commitment to ratify the Pan African Cultural Renaissance Charter presented in Ethiopia in 2009. I hope the participants, comprising of Parliamentarians, Legal Practitioners and Cultural Experts will understand the concepts and accept them convincingly.

On this note, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the President and People of the Republic of Ghana, I wish you all a warm welcome to Accra, the Capital of Ghana, the Black Star of Africa. I wish you a successful workshop and an enjoyable stay in Ghana. May I also take the liberty to declare this very important workshop formally opened.

Once again I say - Akwaaba! Welcome to Ghana!

Thank You.

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