The 14th edition of the International Arts and Handicrafts Fair of Ouagadougou has been launched in Accra with Ghana as the guest country for the exhibition on October 28 to November 6, 2016.
Held biennially in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the International Arts and Crafts Fair, known as Le Salon International de L’Artisanant de Ouagadougou (SIAO) in French, is one of Africa’s most important trade shows for arts and handicrafts.
It shows a wide variety of artistic expression of African creativity, skills, beauty and functionality which also informs the world about Africa’s historical origins and cultural heritage.
The fair is on the theme: “African Handicraft, Women Entrepreneurship and Social Protection’’ with 500 stands to be mounted for two million artisans across the continent.
Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, in a speech read on her behalf during the launch, said the re-launch marked yet another milestone of the cordial and hearty relations existing between Ghana and Burkina Faso.
She said Ghana was being positioned structurally to participate more fully in the international craft markets which provided a golden opportunity to exhibit her arts.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said the Ministry of Trade and Industry was implementing specific plans to resuscitate all the craft villages and markets in Aburi, Bonwire, Abrafo, Bolga, Kpetoe, Kumasi and Accra.
She said the Tourism Ministry was actively co-ordinating the activities of actors in the handicrafts and creative arts industry and giving them the needed support to improve on the Ghanaian craft sector.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare expressed gratitude to the Burkinabe Government for keeping faith in Ghana by still maintaining Ghana as the guest country for the 14th edition of the SIAO despite challenges that led to the postponement of the event until this year.
Mr Stephane W. Sanou, the Burkinabe Minister of Commerce and Handicraft, said; “The choice of Ghana as guest country on this biennial is full of meaning as Ghana won the Country Stand Prize in the 12th edition of the SIAO Fair, in 2010.”
Aside that, he said aside the choice was due to the dynamism and quality of diplomatic and friendship relations which bound the two friendly states and sister countries, linked not only by history but by geography.
Mr Sanou said the security aspect in the organisation of an event in the scale of SIAO Fair seemed to crystalize attention, “at a time when terrorism has become a worldwide gangrene.”
He said security measures available to the Burkinabe State were being implemented to secure the event, the people and the goods that would be circulating throughout the territory during the SIAO Fair.
He explained that the cancellation of the 2014 edition of the SIAO Fair was as a result of the outbreak of the Ebola viral disease in West African.
Mr James Zuugah Tiigah, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), said 34 exhibitors from Ghana had registered through GEPA to participate in the fair whilst others had also registered directly through the Burkina Embassy.