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PROFILE: Know Ghana’s incoming Creative Arts, Tourism, Culture Minister

MP for Evalue Jomoro-Gwira constituency in the Western region, Catherine Abelema Afeku is heading to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, highly-placed sources divulge to ENEWSGH.

She takes over from Hon. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, who has headed the ministry since 2013.

Afeku was MP between 2009 to 2012, and returns to parliament after emerging winner in last month’s polls.

She has also previously served as  Government Spokesperson for Infrastructure, and has constantly stressed innate desire and strong passion for public service.

She’s also credited with making key inputs while in parliament, and serves on 3 committees in the house: The Road and Transport Committee, The Communications Committee as the Deputy Ranking Member and the Business Committee.

Established in 1993, the ministry functions to “develop and promote tourism and improve the capital city, Accra. These functions are aimed at optimising the socio-economic growth of the country through tourism-related activities and the promotion of environmental impact for the benefit of deprived communities with tourist sites in the country”.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts was realigned through Executive Instrument 2013 (E.I.1) to provide a firm, stable policy environment for effective mainstreaming of Ghanaian culture into all aspects of national life and to ensure the strong emergence of a vibrant creative economy to improve and advance the tourism industry.

The Ministry is to facilitate the interface between government, implementing bodies in tourism, culture and the creative industries as well as international and civil society partners.

(Subject to approval by parliament),  Hon. Afeku is expected to help the government fulfil their aims in the creative sector, which include steps to:

a. aggressively develop our tourist sites to bring them to world-class standards, complete with the requisite amenities and facilities

b. pursue a deliberate marketing programme to promote our unique historical sites, flora and fauna, waterfalls and other cultural artefacts

c. take the staffing of these tourist sites and our hospitality industry as a whole seriously. To improve professionalism in the sector, we will partner with the private sector to set up a state-of-the-art hospitality teaching facility, with an operational hotel, classrooms, kitchens, library, and dormitories.

d. encourage local communities to take ownership and be invested in the sustainability of tourist attractions in their localities, The NPP will champion a revenuesharing programme to inject 5% of tourism revenues from fees of well-developed tourist attractions into local community projects

e. promote domestic tourism, by making it an aggressive plank of our tourism strategy with a marketing drive centred on entrenching a tourism culture among Ghanaians

f. reviewed and actively implement the Culture Policy developed under the Kufuor-led NPP government to give our culture pride of place in our national development.

g. build a detailed inventory of all our cultural assets, so the nation has a database of these assets.

h. The Copyright Act 2005 (Act 690), among other provisions, provides for the protection of Adinkra symbols and the older Kente designs as expression of folklore. The NPP will ensure that the provisions regarding the protection of Kente and Adinkra designs are strictly enforced against illicit exploitation by foreign interests, to enable the country maximize revenue through the proper marketing of these heirlooms.

i. establish a Creative Arts Fund to make available funds to modernize and develop the sector

j. create a Division of the High Court, focusing on the Creative Arts to deal with all matters relating to intellectual property rights, complete with a dedicated enforcement unit

k. establish a Creative Arts Council to coordinate and harmonize the various interests and fragmented associations into a well-functioning body to protect the interests of members.

l. collaborate with private sector interests to acquire the technology and equipment needed to log creative works, in order to determine true and deserved royalties.

m. promote regional and district literature, music, dance and drama competitions, particularly in schools and colleges, and

n. pursue the construction of modern large seating theatres in every regional capital except Accra, beginning with Takoradi, Tamale and Kumasi, as well as setting up an additional Copyright Office in Tamale to cater for the northern sector in addition to the existing ones in Accra and Kumasi.

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