Skilled wood carvers, weavers and dealers in African handicrafts in the Aburi community yesterday went gay when the hitherto non-functioning craft village was reopened, thanks to its refurbishment by the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA).
The revamped art and crafts facility has been modelled and partitioned to reflect the various aspects of Ghanaian homes; visitors will find furniture, accessories and décor pieces for the living area, bedroom, dining area, kitchen, hall and utility spaces.
Speaking at the commissioning of the facility, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare announced that plans were afoot to develop the village to the level where “we can hold international art and craft exhibitions in the not-too-distant future; in doing that, we will be achieving export of our tourism while exporting our handicraft as well.”
She told visitors that “the items you find on display within the facility, have been skillfully produced by craftsmen and women some of whom have shops right here in the Aburi Craft Village and some from other Associations beyond Aburi, but most importantly made in Ghana.”
Dr Asare hoped that the centre will sustain the purpose for which it was built, “which is to be a one-stop-shop for everything authentically Ghanaian that is related to lifestyle and is of premium quality.”
She noted that the refurbishment could not have come at a better time as the export fraternity was seeking to recover the lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GEPA CEO recalled that the Aburi Craft Village which has been in existence for over three decades started as a small enterprise in the home of Mallam Gyeki.
She recounted that the skilled members of the community had faced many challenges including having a showroom to exhibit their beautiful pieces and how best to drive sales.
GEPA, 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 these workers and to ensure that they bounce back to business.
Other plans afoot.
The Authority, Dr Asare announced had 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 are woven.
Other initiatives GEPA has embarked on to uplift the image of the Handicraft sector include lending our support to the monthly Art & Craft Fair which takes place at the Dubois Centre, in Accra at the end of every month. We enhanced visibility and publicity for the event with heightened media engagement to increase patronage for this event.
Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Herbert Krapa,urged all members of the arts and Craft community to take advantage of every available capacity building opportunities.
He recalled that the Ministry of Finance’s recently announced YouStart programme aimed at supporting the youth to develop commercially viable businesses, gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring opportunities should be explored.