Kojo Preko Dankwa
Saudi Arabia is geographically the 5th largest state in Asia and second largest state in the Arab world after Algeria.
According to checks the state has a population of 28.7million of which 20million are Saudi Nationals and 8million are foreigners.
There is a direction Saudi Arabians are taking in the world of creative Arts industry (entertainment industry) which needs to be emulated by Ghana if really we have the industry at heart and want to see our Industry grow to become one of the best sectors of the economy we can boast of as a country.
A typical Arab country with very strict and absolute religious beliefs and no way will they relax their Culture and religion is now taking a turn to make their arts better.
On May 7,2016 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz AL Said of Saudi Arabia announced a royal decree which eventually gave birth what they call GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR ENTERTAINMENT.
One may ask what really will push the Arab country to come up with this creation; but they have realized that Saudi population spends almost 22million dollars in Tourism and Entertainment outside the country every year.
The government of Saudi now aims to transform at least 25% of that spending into local travel and Entertainment to create a solid Saudi tourism economy.
It is obvious that we need vigorous systems to really build our Entertainment industry here in Ghana. Government needs to see how necessary the industry has become and how it can help make it better.
One unique and interesting part of the decision to get into the entertainment industry is to expand the economy and reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil by increasing household spending on culture and Entertainment.
The state of Saudi Arabia has a vision known as vision 2030 which was unveiled two years ago by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The ideas, brains and forecast the Arabia state has is enormous and needs congratulations from myself.
The state of Arabia has now lifted a ban on commercial cinemas; this tells you how much resources the Saudi Arabia country is channeling into the entertainment industry.
Ghana is suffering and lacking commercial cinemas whilst policy makers still continue to make promises they cannot fulfill. Is not shameful that we cannot tell as a country how many people largely the entertainment sector is employing and can employ?
If you care to know the General Entertainment Authority chief Ahmed bin Aqeel al- Khatib has been quoted saying he is hoping 220,000 people would be employed in the sector by end of 2018 -up from 17,000 last year . Can we talk of same here in Ghana??
Another interesting point to note from the chairman and I quote” ln the past, investors would go outside the kingdom to produce their work, then showcase it back in Saudi Arabia. Today, change will happen and everything related to Entertainment will be done here”.
He Further stated that “God-willing you will see a real change by 2020”. The call by the entertainment pundits and stakeholders to make our sector an AUTHORITY needs a second thought by government so as to make a real definition out of it.
If Saudi Arabia is investing 64bn dollars in developing it’s entertainment industry over the next decade, what is Ghana investing and what is the agenda for the industry.
The structures are not in place, even if it exist we are not enforcing it. The film ACT 935 is currently gathering dust yet we want to fix our movie industry, research on music was done since 2012 and still gathering dust.
I remember one Richard Boateng a film Director in his quest to defend the minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said in his statement that the major problems the Entertainment industry is facing under the ministry is that the technocrats at the ministry are all Tourism biased. How can we move forward!!.
The state of Saudi Arabia can boast of already 5,000 events planned this year alone. Their Entertainment industry is run by an “AUTHORITY” and not attached to a ministry and it’s run by experts from the industry.
The name is GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT AUTHORITY”. The man in charge Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al Khatib served as director of Saudi Research and marketing Group.
The Board members meet every three months and it’s made up of foreign and local actors with his Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb as chairman of GEA (General Entertainment Authority).
Ghana needs to emulate the lessons and visions of the Saudi Arabia country to help boost our industry.