A visiting ECOWAS delegation has held talks with Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie at his Capitol Hill office in Monrovia.
The group headed by Commissioner Mamadou Traore – who is responsible for Science, Education and Culture – was in the country to discuss the Convention on the Prohibition and Prevention of Illicit Import, Export and the Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Properties and Cultural Framework of Ecowas countries.
During the talks, the Liberian Information Minister reaffirmed the commitment of the government to ensuring the ratification of the 1970 Convention and the implementation of ECOWAS Cultural Framework Agreement.
He also used the occasion to inform the ECOWAS delegation of the development and validation of Liberia’s cultural policy, which he said is in line with the region’s. Minister Rennie said Liberia’s cultural sector is captured in the government’s national development plan.
He assured the delegation that MICAT is committed to working with the National Legislature in order to ensure that at least one percent of the national budget is allotted for cultural activities and programs.
The Minister stressed the need to embark on an education and awareness campaign about the importance of the convention, while also emphasizing the need to work closely with the legislature for the ratification of other major cultural conventions.
He requested ECOWAS support for the hosting of local cultural programs.
The Ecowas Commissioner, Mamadou Traore, expressed gratitude to MICAT for the development and validation of the National Culture Policy and the Liberian government’s commitment to the ratification of the 1970 convention. He called on the Minister to ensure that other cultural conventions are also ratified.
He urged the Liberian Government to take steps at promoting more public awareness about the stipulations of the convention in order to get rid of the illicit export, import and the illegal transfer of cultural properties.
The Commissioner promised to help support the Ministry’s plans to host the 200th anniversary of the return of free slaves from the U.S. and the intra-regional cultural and tourism festival and exhibitions among Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Also present at last Thursday’s discussion were Deputy MICAT boss for Culture and Tourism, Lance Gba-gonyon, and Dr. Emile Raguidissida ZIDA, Head of ECOWAS Culture Division.