Friday, 17 August 2012 08:59
Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, yesterday said African countries lost resources because they abandoned their cultural values that protected their vital natural resources.
He said the disconnect between culture and planning and management had not solved the under development issues in Africa, saying the neglect of culture had been allowed to take place to the disadvantage of all Africans.
“Planners are not trained to respect culture, and this has not enabled us to appreciate the relevance of culture. Most of our cultural experts have not been oriented on issues relating to culture, and so do not take full steps in the advocacy role entrusted in them.”
He was speaking at the opening session of the 2012 African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) workshop on Culture and Development in Accra on the theme: “Embedding Culture in National Development Plans and Long-Term Vision”.
Mr Obeng said it was about time issues of culture were critically looked at in order to be integrated into the national development agenda.
Professor Kwesi K. Prah of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society in South Africa said, if development must come to Africa, it must come in the cultural features of Africans and in African languages.
He said it was important to appreciate the fact that development was a cultural phenomenon and language stood at the centre of culture, saying “Language and other institutions of culture and history were reliable instruments if we want to build on what we have”.
Ghana’s Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr Alexander Asum-Ahensah, said investing in culture should be a critical aspect of the overall development agenda of a country.
He said culture contributed to the overall economic growth of every nation, but unfortunately the sector had not been accorded the needed attention over the years.
The Minister said there was the urgent need to develop oriented programmes to be tailored and undertaken with close attention to the socio-economic realities of countries.
Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Director, IDEP, Senegal said the objective of the workshop was to bring together mixed group of development planners, thinkers and cultural intellectuals and advocates to explore the linkages and interactions between development and culture in Africa.
He said it was a follow up on the inaugural session organised in 2011 where participants explored the cultural basis of development and the linkage between culture and development in an African historical context.
The two-day workshop is to discuss with policy makers how best issues of culture could be integrated into mainstream national development plans and agenda as well as arrive at decisions that would enrich the various national development programmes.