|Speech By The President Of The Musicians Union Of Ghana As A Guest Speaker At The 3rd Ghana Policy Fair Dialogue Series On 17th April 2012|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012 14:12|
Topic: Promoting The Creative Arts To Accelerate National Development
Mr. Chair Person, Your Excellency the (Vice) President of the Republic of Ghana, Honorable Ministers of State, Hon Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen, Friends from the media, Nii Mei, Naa Mei, ........... etc, I feel honored to be accorded the opportunity to address such an august gathering at this time of our National life. Since I had the opportunity to be elected to lead the Musicians Union of Ghana, I have come to appreciate it even the more, the many opportunities we have as a nation to develop progressively. However these opportunities
requires that we make the appropriate decisions, policies and implement activities that would lead us to experience the good in all that we choose to do.
The creative Industries cover ten main cultural domains namely: visual arts, performing arts, cultural sites, Traditional Cultural expressions, Publishing, New media, design, creative services, Music and Audio visuals.
As other speakers are available to speak on the same subject matter, I hope you will permit me if my references and focus is directed more on music issues.
"Promoting the Creative Arts to accelerate National Development' chosen as a theme by the organizers of this event is an ideal one. It comes at a time that the state has no further excuse not to develop and strengthen Ghana's creative economy in ways that would enable the Nation engage in the world trade in creative goods and services.
Ghana can boast of having a diverse mix of arts and cultural activities, some of which were initially expanding in composition, size, and structure to become the main sectors of a growing cultural industry. Unfortunately that promising trend changed along the line. The reasons are many and varied.
In the global economy today, the creative arts have become major catalysts of growth. This has been spurned by technology acting as the main driver of transformation. A critical underpinning of the cultural industries is copyright, which secures the economic/commercial value of cultural commodities. However, the copyright system remains largely challenged by piracy, as opportunities 'to infringe become easier with new modes
of technology. In response, developed-world governments have implemented stringent legislation and policies that would allow their cultural industries to effectively defend and trade their copyrights. Unfortunately, In Ghana ours is further compounded by weak institutiona1 framework, lack of enforcement, inadequate technical and professional knowhow and in certain instances absence of appropriate legislature to deal with the
Global market demand for cultural commodities continues to rise steadily, particularly within the entertainment and media industry. Although countries adopt different methodological approaches to measuring the contribution of cultural industries to the global economy, estimates show that between 2006 and 2011, global music industry revenue grew from U$D 60.7 -67.6 (BILLION), world wide Recorded music revenue was
between U$D36.0 - 34.0 (billion), Live Music & Concerts Revenue grew from U$D16.6 - 23.5 (Billion). Again, Ghana is yet to tap into this vast music industry job and business opportunities currently going on across the globe. One may ask how do we get there?
First of all, regulation in the cultural industries is achieved through international treaties and trade rules, national laws and policies that reinforce international treaties, regulations established by non-governmental institutions, and copyright collection societies.
Throughout the world there are various models of providing support for the creative industries. Canada's approach to institutional capacity building for its cultural industries can be illustrated as a best practice. The Canadian government, through a number of cultural institutions, utilizes a range of tax measures, financial incentive schemes, programme support mechanisms, content requirements, intellectual property tools and
legislation to build up its cultural industries. Ghana has a complex Institutional framework for music and for that matter the creative industry with several overlaps in the activities of the various institutions as well as gaps that need to be filled.
In addition, the industry suffers from a number of weaknesses including weak distribution channels, a lack of documentation and economic measurement, lack of strategic marketing competencies, Inadequate skilled industry professionals, lack of enforcement of existing Laws, small market size, Technology deficiencies, inadequate infrastructure, Lack of investment, etc.
Added to this, the industry must face international threats and foreign influence on our airwaves. There is no access to funding, regional competition is increasing and the local broadcast media generally neglect local arts and culture.
Inspite of all these challenges, the industry remains poised to capitalize on its main strengths of having talent and creativity that holds tremendous international appeal, and having expanding participation by youth in various aspects of music and entertainment. The opportunities to be taken advantage of are significant - there is now a rising global media interest in African Music & culture.
In the absence of an evidence based data, we can still mention job creation prospects that exist in the music sector alone. The sector directly creates jobs and income for authors, composers, music publishers, Technical producers, arrangers, sessionists', recording engineers, Manufacturers (CD, DVD etc.), marketers, venue owners, & Managers, sound & Lighting equipment suppliers and technicians, security services, booking agents, promoters, Tour agents, event managers, film scorers, accountants, lawyers, music video producers, cast & crew for music videos, Educators, instrument manufacturers, suppliers & repairers, dancers, etc.
Indirect jobs and revenues are also created for and by advertisers, Print & electronic media, etc.
In our bid to promote the creative arts for accelerated growth, our approach should look at developing a strategic framework that will seek to provide the music and specific creative arts with the required human resource needed for growth, facilitate international exposure of local artistes and music, market and promote National creativity, promote private sector investment both locally and abroad in the music and creative arts
industry. The goal is to focus on establishing solid investment and institutional support, to foster the growth and development of globally competitive music and creative industry that would grow cultural confidence of our Society, promote sustainable sources of income for our artistes and musicians and industry entrepreneurs, and Contribute to the growth of our National economy.
The way forward for us is in twofold: One is to develop a strategy to build the local industry and two, to also develop strategy that focuses on exporting our creative goods and services. These strategies should be inclusive of the following recommendations:
• A Revolving Investment Scheme for artistes and entrepreneurs in music industry to aid in major projects in market development; music production, video production, theatrical productions and touring, as well as implementation of export plans;
• Familiarization Tours of the country for international executives in the music industry and successful Ghanaian Musicians and industry practitioners, visual and performing artists living home and abroad to assist in exporting our local talent and products;
• Archiving, Research and Development to facilitate proper archiving of our creative works as well as continuous assessment of the growth and development of the entertainment industry through benchmarking with international developments;
• Marketing and Promotion to establish and maintain global linkages for the industry using the targeted marketing approach by a local music expert with global music business experience who can also facilitate the annual participation of artists in International Music Festivals
• Joint venture projects to stage International Promotional Music Concerts and Major Theatrical Productions home and abroad;
Create a National online presence for downloads of the collected archives of our genres of music and music videos, as well as visual art, dance and theatrical productions.
Whereas the above conclusions focus on developing an international market niche for Ghanaian musical works, the under listed focuses on developing a local sustainable and dynamic music industry. These include:
• Direct Government policy interventions in the areas of re-introducing music in Basic school curriculum and;
• Provision of musical equipment's to schools in basic, secondary and tertiary with the view to revive the musical skills in talented young Ghanaians and equally improve professional and cultural skills of targeted future musicians at their school going age.
• Establish a Ghana Music Academy to train Musicians and music industry professionals in all industry related disciplines.
• Establish a major Record company for Ghana and task it to market Ghana music globally.
• Re-organize Ghana's collective management organization as a backbone for the sector.
• Establish desk offices in all ministries that deals with the creative industry
• Establish trade desk for the creative sector in target Ghanaian missions abroad
To end I know the journey can be long, but we can do it if we refocus and redirect our energies. We don't have to fail I know with the help and grace of God we can work to make Ghana a better place than we came to meet it. God bless us all.