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Regional News of Thursday, 10 November 2005

Source: GNA

Attainment of independence is not enough - Chief

Elmina, Nov.10, GNA - The President of the National House of Chiefs, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, on Thursday urged African countries to strive to give more meaning to the attainment of independence by harnessing all available resources for accelerated development. He noted that although attaining independence had made Africans "masters of their own destiny and liberated from the shackles of underdevelopment," this had been hindered by the inability to recognize the important role of culture in development.

Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, made the call at the Third Zonal Conference on " Culture and NEPAD", being organised by the National Commission on Culture (NCC) and the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, for stakeholders in the southern zone at Elmina.

The participants included officials from the Ghana Education Service, University of Ghana, NEPAD Secretariat and Regional Directors of Culture, from the Western, Central, Volta and Greater Accra regions. They would discuss the NEPAD document, and make suggestions to ensure that culture is embodied in the document to make it more meaningful to the people.

Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, called on Africans not to blame their woes on the colonial masters, but think "about the way forward."

"We need to do more for our country," he declared, and asked the participants to deliberate on how best the NEPAD document could be constructively used for the benefit of Ghanaians.

Dr Kojo Assan, Director of NEPAD, pledged Ghana's commitment to attain objectives of NEPAD but said it was imperative to "examine the African nature of the proposed NEPAD solution."

He said NEPAD as a development framework would only be meaningful, based on how it reflected in the daily lives of the people. "Ghanaians cannot be expected to avail themselves of the benefits of NEPAD if they do not understand it. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the public understand how our cultural practices can affect development efforts," He added.

He said Ministry would endeavour to sensitize Ghanaians and incorporate all thematic areas including culture, as identified in the NEPAD document.

The Chairman of NCC, Professor George Hagan, said culture had a significant role to play in development.