Elmina: cultural legacy as the engine for economic growth

August 2003 -

Five international culture projects have received subsidies from the HGIS culture budget (Homogeneous Group for International Collaboration). Over three hundred thousand euros will go to the Elmina Cultural Heritage and Management Program (ECHMP).



In Elmina, a historical city on the coast of Ghana, three projects will be conducted to maintain the common Dutch/Ghanese cultural legacy. These projects are to renovate a 19th century chapel, a 19th century merchant’s house and the Dutch cemetery. The Foundation Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) will receive 334,193 euros for this purpose. These funds are earmarked for the second phase of the Elmina Cultural Heritage and Management Program.

According to Ester van Steekelenburg of the IHS the purpose of the project is to maintain the cultural legacy 'as an engine for economic growth'. The ECHMP believes it is important to strengthen the management capacity of the local responsible agencies and to ensure their participation in the planning and execution of the projects. Using this integrated approach the ECHMP not only ensures the maintenance of the Ghanese/Dutch legacy, but also ensures sustainable improvement of the living standard in the city Elmina. Van Steekelenburg: "The amount only covers the construction costs for the renovation projects. This is contrary to the integrated approach that the ECHMP supports. The question is thus whether this method can produce the desired results during the second phase."

In addition to the subsidy from the ECHMP, four other projects are receiving subsidies from the HGIS culture budget. These are the Dutch Film Museum for the Historical presentation of Dutch films in the US, the 2003 Northern Light Photo Show (Fotomanifestatie Noorderlicht 2003), Global Detail, the Dutch Jazz Connection Foundation, and the seventh edition of the Africa in the Picture international film festival.

In total the HGIS culture budget for 2003 is over 11 million euros. The HGIS Culture subsidies are intended to provide an extra stimulus for the international culture policy.

For more information about the ECHMP, please contact Paul Schuttenbelt ihs@ilgs.org in Accra Ghana or Ester van Steekelenburg esst@ihs.nl in Rotterdam.