No one can dispute the power music and sports have over Ghanaians. If it is not one thing, it is bound to be the other that entertains the population. So it is fortunate for everyone that the government seems to be committed to improving both these days.
The first ever Ghana Music Week (GMW) has finally launched after months of anticipatory build-up. The President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bice ‘Obour’ Osei Kuffour welcomed the world to Accra on 5 March 2013. He was joined, in spirit, by another president with interests in promoting the Ghanaian music scene. President John Mahama, although unable to attend the festivities in person, had an address delivered on his behalf. This speech confirmed the commitment of the government to the continued development of the country’s music industry.
And that is not just a song and dance routine, either. In an effort to demonstrate their commitment, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts is creating an official arm to support MUSIGA and to provide general support to the creative disciplines. Appropriately, the theme of this year’s GMW is “Engaging Music as a Catalyst for Unity and National Growth.
The business arm of GMW includes everything from stakeholder workshops to seminars and exhibitions. However productive these may be for key industry players, the highlights of the event are sure to be the MUSIGA Honours and All-star Concert and the Ghana Unity Concert. Attendees can chase their music with food and drinks in the associated bars, pubs and nightclubs.
Sports fans, on the other hand, will need to wait longer for their payoff, but the government is delivering that one, as well. Following the GMW opening, the Finance Minister, Seth Terpker, announced that both the Accra and the Kumasi Stadia will be receiving an influx of cash. After playing host to the African Cup of Nations in 2008, the structures have been largely left to wither under the African sun. And this may have been permissible – until the failing state of the Baba Yara Sports Stadium contributed to a 54 minute black out during a recent World Cup qualifier. With at least half of the country’s eyes glued to television screens during important Black Stars matches, the government had no choice to take action on the overall maintenance of Ghanaian stadia. And, there is no better place to start than with Accra and Kumasi – the most widely used sporting structures in the country.
But facility improvements are not the end of the government’s investment in to Ghanaian sports. The estimated government for 2013 is nearly GHC 54 million. Part of this money will go towards the rehabilitation of the National Sports College. At the moment, it is not quite up to international standards, but an influx of cash can certainly get it to this point. And if these were not enough to whet the appetite of professional sports clubs and their supporters, the government has also promised to bring the long promised Sports Bill off the table and into action.
Whether it is sports or music that brings you to Accra, one thing is certain – the government is making it easier to enjoy yourself (even if the election results are still not final)!