The government has called for investment in innovations in the art and craft sector to ensure that exporters reach their destination markets with standardized products.
He said the country’s handicraft sector with the right support could be well-positioned to feed the economy while stakeholders derive good income from earnings.
Mr. Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a newly refurbished Aburi Craft Village and a five-day exhibition.
The refurbishment of the Aburi Craft Village was supported with Government funding.
However, the items on display have been carefully crafted by Artisans from other locations within Ghana.
He said the growth of public-private partnership would drive future success stories in the export trade sector, saying the government was committed to promoting its industrialization agenda and focusing on the value-addition of raw materials sourced in the country.
The Minister said the preservation of Ghanaian traditional culture and art had become increasingly important as it was an area that seemed more to be consistently infiltrated by modern and foreign influences.
He said the handicraft products’ actual contribution to the total NTE basket was still low at 1.1 per cent, representing $ 30.6million but it is a huge improvement on the sector’s 2019 figure of $ 14.5million.
In November 2021, Ghana represented at the Intra-Africa Trade Fair at Durban in South Africa with 1,100 exhibitors from 55 countries in attendance.
Ghana stood tall when it won the award for the “Most Extraordinary Experiential Stand.”
A review of the 2020 Non-Traditional Export Report indicates that of all three sectors’ contribution to the total earnings, it was handicraft products that recorded a percentage increase of 110 per cent as against 0.65 per cent for Agricultural products and negative 2.94 per cent for manufacturing products.
Ghana, he said, was renowned for producing the best and authentic African arts and crafts, ranging from ceramics, woodwork, brass and bronze sculptures, jewellery, artefacts made from stone and metal as well as a range of textiles.
He said the country had enormous export opportunities brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area market, which was worth some $ 3 trillion.
He urged all to support government practical initiatives and policies, including the National Export Development Strategy, the 10-point industrialization agenda, the one district, one factory and the GHS100 billion Ghana CARES Obaatanpa programme.
Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, said the Aburi Craft Village had been in existence for over three decades, starting as a small enterprise with challenges, including having a showroom to exhibit their beautiful pieces and how best to drive sales.
The Authority, under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, developed the idea to build the multifaceted edifice, which could be used to tackle the various challenges faced by the workers and to ensure that they bounce back to business.
She said before July 2020, the beads producers in Abompe, who produced Bauxite beads had to carry out the arduous task of chipping, drilling, grinding, and polishing the beads, with their bare hands in a painful process, using rudimentary equipment with very little efficiency.
GEPA intervened in the process by supporting the infrastructure to upscale their skill using mechanized means and enabling them to expand production.
In July 2020, GEPA built and handed over a multi-faceted workshop at Abompe, complete with mechanized machinery to serve as a common use facility for bauxite beads production.
She said GEPA had similar plans for the Art and Craft Centres at Abrafo in the Central Region, Keta in the Volta Region and the Bolga Market where famous Bolga baskets were woven.
She encouraged the Leadership of the Centre to instil a strong maintenance culture and sustain its patronage, saying “it is only with close collaboration and support that we can achieve the objective of this Art and Craft Village which is to be an Exhibition Centre of international repute.”
Otoobuor Djan Kwasi II, the Chief of Aburi, thanked the organizers for the event and pledged his support for the success of the exhibition.
Nana Krobea Asante, President, Aburi Craft Village Association, appealed to the government to build an ultra-modern machine shop to meet international standards for their exhibitions.