Indigenous culture must inform development strategies

Ghana’s inability to achieve her developmental aspirations are due to her strategies which were overly driven by alien cultural values to the neglect of its own.

Indigenous culture must rather inform the country’s developmental strategies.

Mr Robert Ndor, Executive Director of Robert Ndor Memorial Project (RONJECT Group), Ho, made the assertion at a workshop for the “Promotion of the Cultural Industrial sector in Ghana.”

The workshop was organised by the “Centre for Ewe Language and Cultural Research” with funding from the Commonwealth Foundation.

Mr Ndor was leading discussions on “dynamics of the cultural challenge, a call to duty.”

He said the fact that it was not until 2004 that Ghana was able to craft and document a national cultural policy, showed that for more than 50 years, her nation building efforts were conducted without an indigenous cultural content.

Mr Ndor argued that structures and activities depicting the country’s diverse cultures were at best monuments of aesthetic value which did not influence the way of thinking and approach to resolving the developmental questions facing the country.

He said this was evidenced in newspaper reports since independence which attested to the fact that the fundamental challenges of nation building have persisted until now.

Mr Ndor said this had been so because unlike her contemporaries in Asia, who have been largely successful, Ghana’s efforts at nation building lacked a conscious indigenous cultural content and direction.

He suggested that the wisdom in the “sankofa” symbol must be consciously ingrained in the psyche of the populace so that the best of Ghana’s cultural values would blend with the best of the alien forms to achieve rapid economic transformation.

Mr Ndor acknowledged that the change would be a difficult task because it hinged on changing the attitudes, thinking and behavior patterns of the citizenry.

Mr Francis Ganyaglo, Deputy Volta Regional Minister said “the adoption of Ghana’s cultural policy in 2004 was founded on the clear perception that meaningful development must be based on a strong cultural foundation.”

He said the cultural industry holds great potential towards the country’s economic development and employment and therefore needs to be properly restructured to attain these goals.

Mr Ganyaglo said the implementation of the policy called for “collaboration between both public and private sector players to properly harness the benefits from the cultural industry.

Mr Ganyaglo said it was the government’s belief that the time has come for the cultural sector to be re-energized and given a new direction.

Reverend Monsignor Anthony Kornu, Vicar- General of the Ho Diocese of the Catholic Church said the country needs to blend the positive aspects of foreign and indigenous cultural values to effectively tackle the development challenges of the moment.

He said it would be counter-productive to push aside positive foreign cultural values and adopt indigenous cultural approaches just for the sake of change. GNA

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