On Thursday evening, Ghana shared its rich cultural legacy with participants at the African Development Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings, which ended on Friday.
The evening lived up to its promise, beginning with a poem read in the Ashanti language, praising the power of African solidarity. It was followed by traditional music from the region. Participants discovered the majestic dance of the Akan people of Ghana, as well as a variety of dance steps, performed by male and female dancers to the sounds of balafons, and drums played by women and men, demonstrating the historic harmony between the genders in African societies.
Male and female dancers performing dance steps, to the sounds of balafons, djembes, and drums played by women and men.
In his address to participants, Ghana’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta, Chairman of the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Governors, said his country was proud to welcome Africa to Accra to reflect on the challenges of climate change and building resilience on the continent.
“Welcome to a celebration of African culture. I think we can all understand that we need platforms such as these to showcase, promote, and ultimately preserve our rich and diverse cultural heritage,” Ofori-Atta said.
“Africa is the cradle of humanity and the second-largest continent. Africa has an enviable cultural heritage with a rich diversity of languages, natural organic foods, vibrant music and dance, beautiful fashion, inspiring arts, and strong traditions that have stood the test of time,” he said to applause.
“When you come to Africa and you are looking for energy, culture and people, come to West Africa. The diversity of Nigeria alone will blow you away, and of course the beauties…of Ghana,” he continued, pointing out that Africa is home to a third of the world’s languages — between 700 and 3,000.
“I am convinced that tonight’s activities will be a success even beyond tonight,” Mr Ofori-Atta added. “I can assure us all here that the African Development Bank Group will do everything in its power to fully support the creative sector and ensure that our cultural practitioners are empowered and allowed to showcase their talents on as many global platforms as possible. In doing so, we aim to build stronger bonds of solidarity, peace, and stability across the continent.”
Bank chief Akinwumi Adesina recalled the importance of culture in the continent’s socioeconomic development, as well as in the expression of its subtle power. He recalled that the Bank was working with the continent’s cultural actors in the arts and fashion, with the creation of Fashionomics, a Bank initiative to enhance the textile industry and fashion.
“For decades, the beauty, brightness, and masterful tapestries of Kente cloth (a fabric worn in some West African countries) have become synonymous with African fashion. The fashion industry’s income-generating and job-creating potential in Africa is why I said the African Development Bank had created the Fashionomics initiative,” Adesina said. “This initiative provides capacity building, entrepreneurial skills, networking opportunities, and increased access to finance, for designers and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses…African culture has become a global export.”
He added that culture in Africa had become an industry, with Nollywood now ranking alongside Hollywood and Bollywood and generating $7.2 billion, and still growing. Nollywood directly employs 300,000 people and a further one million in supply and support services. He noted that the streaming platform Netflix has set up shop in Africa because the continent’s cultural industry is thriving, innovative, and creating jobs and wealth. “Netflix is here in Africa, bringing $8 billion of investment to Africa…Our soft power is a strong tool to reshape the narrative, create wealth, showcase opportunities, and present a young, dynamic, and vibrant Africa to the global audience,” Adesina said.
The Bank President was then presented with two beautiful bow ties, one in Ghanaian colours.
The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, with one of the two beautiful bow ties that were given to him as a gift.
The evening was lively for the Ghanaian minister, President Adesina, and the many guests who danced to the sounds of traditional Ghanaian music and other rich sounds from the continent.
Source African Development Bank Group