The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Export Promotions Authority (GEPA) have officially opened the newly refurbished Aburi Art and Craft Village in anticipation of Ghana’s agenda to position as a leading exporter of art and craft in the West Africa subregion.
This, government said, called for investment in innovations in the art and craft sector to ensure that Ghanaian exporters reach their destination markets with quality and well finished art products.
The Craft Village is now provided with a state-of-the-art showroom and an exhibition centre for artisans and craftsmen of the facility.
A speech read on behalf of the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, at the event said the country’s handicraft sector with the right support could be well-positioned to feed the economy while stakeholders derive appreciable income from earnings.
The handicraft sector’s actual contribution to the total Non Traditional Exports basket was still low at 1.1 percent, representing US$30.6 million which is a huge improvement on the sector’s 2019 figure of US$14.5million.
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 percent as against 0.65 per cent for Agricultural products and negative 2.94 percent for manufacturing products.
But Mr Kyerematen 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.
Chief Executive of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, 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.
“It it our 100 percent hope that this refurbishment would scaleup the craft village to produce more artifacts for the export market” she said.
In July 2020, GEPA, Dr Asare said, 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 the Authority has 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 instill 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.”
Aburihene and Ag. President of the Akuapem Traditional Council, Otoobour Djan Kwasi II, said the move by GEPA and MoTI to rehabilitate the centre, was timely and critical for rekindling the economic life of the artisans and by extension, the whole of Aburi.
He expressed appreciation for the gesture and said it would be utilized to benefit Aburi and Ghana at large.