Dr. Awal outlines strategies to boost tourism and creative arts industry

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  • GH¢50m capital injection to benefit creative arts
  • US$20m national film studio
  • push for domestic tourism drive

Ghana’s tourism and creative arts industry is expected to rake in a revenue of US$5 billion within two years and up to US$6 billion in the next four years to become an essential contributor to the country’s GDP, Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has projected.

This, he indicated, is achievable with the improvement of domestic tourism and the arts and culture subsectors.

“We think that over the next four years, tourism should be the number one contributor to the GDP, from number four. We can gross US$5 billion revenue within the next two years. In the Year of Return in 2019, we grossed US$3.3 billion, and this is just one year. If we improve our internal tourism drive and improve our arts cultural heritage, we will be able to gross US$6 billion by 2024,” he said.

Dr. Awal made these remarks when he appeared before the Appointment Committee of parliament for vetting as Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Among other strategies, the nominee revealed that the ministry will secure some GH¢50 million funding to be injected into the sector to support players. Additionally, there will be the establishment of US$20 million national film studio in the country to improve film and music production, and ultimately make Ghana the hub of film production in West Africa.

Building a US$20 million studio

Dr. Awal has assured that government, through a private partnership will build a multipurpose studio to develop the film and movie industry. He maintained that the US$20 million edifice will be one of the pressing priorities that will be vigorously pursued by him to help create jobs and generate revenue for the country.

Citing some benefits from the movie industry, Dr. Awal said Ghana can learn from countries such as Nigeria and India to become a reference point in film making in West Africa.

“In Nigeria, the film industry two years ago, generated US$590 million and supported one million jobs. In Hollywood the film industry at the same year generated 2.1 million jobs and raked in billions of dollars. In Bollywood in India, it also generated significant revenues,” he said stressing that Ghana can be the hub for filmmaking in West Africa.”

He stated that there is no justification for tourists to visit Ghana and watch Western movies and telenovelas that do not have any resemblance with the Ghanaian culture. “We can’t allow the tourists to come here and be watching Western movies. There must be Ghanaian content for them to entertain themselves,” he said.

According to him, the lack of creative content for tourists reflected in a data gathered by Tourism Indicator which showed that tourists who visit Ghana only spend 15 percent of their monies on entertainment, when indeed it could have been more.

Dr. Awal said initial engagements with stakeholders and entertainment enthusiasts have shown that a multipurpose studio in an African setting will attract film makers across the world to shoot movies and scenes that represent African culture and depict the African heritage here in Ghana. “Such a studio will require a huge land space and we will look at it when I am given the nod,” he assured.

He reiterated that the plan to build the studio will look at a partnership with the private sector while targetting 70 percent local content to secure the jobs for Ghanaians.

Building theaters in every region

Reacting to a question on President Akufo-Addo’s pledge to build a theater in every region in his first term to support the industry, Mr. Awal reassured that the promise has not been abandoned but will be pursued when given the nod. “We have not forgotten about it. When we produce the movies, we will need to market it and show it in the theaters,” he said adding that the subsectors of the movie industry are all interconnected.

Describing the pledge as a relevant development that must come to fruition, Dr. Awal said it is long overdue for every region to have a unique theater that will be used to promote films and national culture.

The Marine Drive Project

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the project, which is estimated to cost about US$1.2 billion, is a Public-Private Partnership project expected to transform the beachfront stretch from the Osu Christiansborg Castle to the Arts Centre into a vibrant business and commercial enclave.

This is expected to transform the city’s skyline, create jobs, spur tourism growth and boost the national economy. Even though the project was revisited by the John Mahama-led administration, some observers have said that the over 240-acre project has not received much attention under the Nana Akufo-Addo government.

However, responding to a questing on the Marine Drive project, Dr. Awal said the project will be a game-changer to the beautification of the city hence will be pursued if the committee approve his appointment.

“I am a business-driven person. That project is a very important project. If given the nod I will follow it up because it can create jobs for the country,” he said pledging that the land allocation for the project will be fairly executed to make judicious use of the resources in the area.

Supporting players in the industry

Dr. Awal said the ministry will work to get GH¢50 million to directly support and build the capacity of players in the arts and culture industry. “We are securing GH₵50 million if given the nod, to support players in the creative arts industry that will help them build their competencies.”

PROFILE

Dr. Awal was Minister for Business Development. He was adjudged the Most Business Oriented Minister of Africa, Designing Economic Development through Innovative Solutions. He was also named the Best Performing Minister and the Most Outstanding Minister in Ghana for 2018 and 2019 respectively.  Dr. Awal was Ghana’s Marketing Man of the year, ‘2009’.

Among other laurels, he has been accredited with developing an entrepreneurship policy for Ghana. During his tenure as Business Development Minister, Dr. Awal served as a Special Envoy of the President to a number of countries such as Hungary, Morocco, Italy, Central African Republic, Kenya, and Guinea Bissau on African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  He also led business delegations to a number of countries including the United States of America, India, Turkey, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, United Kingdom, Qatar and Portugal.

Dr. Awal is the former Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited, Ghana’s biggest media organization.  He was also the Managing Director of Chase Petroleum. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Awal is the founder and owner of a number of companies such as Marble Communications Group Limited, publishers of The Finder Group of Newspapers, HMW printers, Marble Consultants and Marble Developers.

He holds a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration with specialty in succession planning and business competitiveness from the Swiss Business School and three master’s degrees in various disciplines from different universities. He has Masters in Applied Business Research – Swiss Business School, Switzerland, Executive Masters in Business Administration (University of Ghana Business School, Legon) and Masters in International Journalism (University of Wales, UK).  Dr. Awal has also done courses in Business Strategy at Harvard Business School, USA and oil production and management at Oxford, UK.

As a graduate of three reputable Business Schools; University of Ghana Business School, Harvard Business School and Swiss Business School, Dr. Awal is committed to improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ghana.

He has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations where he offered consultancy services in the areas of business strategy, management, marketing and communications.

Dr. Awal has also consulted for Diplomatic Missions, Development partners as well as state institutions.

SOURCEBy Rashidatu IBRAHIM
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