SPEECH BY THE GUEST OF HONOUR, HON. MRS. ELIZABETH OFOSU-ADJARE, MINISTER OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS AT THE LAUNCH OF THE AFRICA UNION DAY FASHION FESTIVAL ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH31ST, 2014 AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE, ACCRA

CHAIRMAN,
DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS
THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND STAFF OF LINKS MODEL AGENCY,
FRIENDS FROM THE MEDIA
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I am greatly delighted to join this august gathering to celebrate with you the launch of the Africa Union Day Fashion Festival.
The global fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and a huge draw card for tourists. According to the Oxford Economics 2014 Research commissioned by the British Fashion Council, the direct value of the fashion industry to the U.K. economy presently stands at £26 billion, up from £21 billion in 2009. The report also estimated that over 797,000 people are employed in the UK fashion industry. It also revealed the sector is the largest employer of all creative industries.
The above statistics call for a more critical and innovative look at the fashion industry in Ghana so that it can be properly used as a vehicle for job and wealth creation, poverty alleviation and getting the youth off the streets.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is for these reasons among others that my Ministry fully endorses this festival. The Ministry recognizes the need for the development and promotion of Ghanaian, and by extension, African fashion.
Ladies and Gentlemen, African fashion has a global appeal and the success story of the Ghanaian Kente cloth illustrates this. The multi-coloured Ghanaian fabric is now found all over the world. As noted by an anonymous author in the Economist in 1997:
“Worldwide Ghanaian Kente cloth has been incorporated into hatbands, shirts, handbags and head wraps and is worn from Brixton to Brooklyn and beyond as a symbol of African black identity. African-Americans in particular have taken up Kente as a symbol of a rich and royal African past. Kente cloth is worn by the Ghanaian elite as a form of national outfit. Indeed, no visitor to Ghana can avoid Kente and any visitor to Ghana will undoubtedly purchase something with Kente inspiration. Kente is now synonymous with Ghanaian culture and is part of its tourism appeal.”
In recent times, the setting up of modern day fabric making companies such as GTP, Printex, Woodin, Vlisco among other fabric brands has consistently brought out very beautiful, colourful and creative designs that help fashion designers to produce appropriate garments when they work with such designs.
Generally, interest in our African prints in Ghana has increased tremendously all over, with a lot more people wearing them all week-long and not only on Fridays. I must commend all fashion houses and fashion designers both locally and internationally who are partaking in this Fashion Festival and also ensuring that our African prints become the world’s most sought after fabric.
With Ghana having been named as the 9th most preferred tourist destination in Africa, and with African countries rising on the world tourism rankings, the future of Ghana’s Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Industry is bright. The introduction of this novel festival by the Links Model Agency will hugely add on to this feat.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I must commend the organizers of this festival for a good step in the right direction. Let me however caution that one of the highlights of this Festival would be the capacity of the organisers to innovate with regard to everything to do with the Festival, and I hope patrons and exhibitors would be satisfied to have been part.
The institution of this festival is also fulfilling one of the objectives of the African Union – promotion of unity among African states through events. It is my hope that next year, the organisers will widen participation to cover all African countries – from the north, east, west, central and southern Africa.
On this note, Ladies and Gentlemen, I urge all of you to try and grab African print, sew it and proudly wear it. Try to also adorn yourself with an African jewelry and you will see how it complements your overall appearance and improves how you look.
I wish all of you and the AU African Union Day Fashion Festival all the best in the weeks ahead and beyond.
May the Good Lord Bless Us All.

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