The inaugural West African Music and Arts (WAMA) Festival commenced with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Labadi Beach Hotel, marking the beginning of celebrating the region's rich cultural heritage.

The event brought together key figures from the music and arts industries, government officials, and creative professionals from across West Africa and beyond.

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman, expressed his gratitude towards Prof. Jasmine Young for choosing Ghana as the inaugural destination for the WAMA Fest 2024.

"We welcome guests from West Africa and beyond, I appreciate Prof Jasmine Young for selecting Ghana for this event. We aim to make Africa the hub for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE), supporting the creative and art industries.

"Music and art are no longer just entertainment; it's business, and it's time we discuss that business. We have assembled experts to work with our local talent across West Africa to elevate our music industry."

Prof. Jasmine Young, Co-Founder of WAMA Fest and ''HipHopPreneur'' praised the efforts of the Minister for Tourism, Arts, and Culture in championing the Beyond The Return and Year of Return initiatives.

"We're at the intersection of tradition and innovation, taking our beautiful arts and culture and teaching the next generation how to monetise in the global digital music industry.

This will be the largest global music industry conference, envisioning a future where West Africa becomes a powerhouse of global culture."

Bello, Vice President of Global A&R at Warner Recorded Music, emphasized the importance of building bridges for artists, producers, and writers.

"Our mission is to take local artists to a global impact. Conferences like this are crucial for acquiring the knowledge needed to succeed in the business of music.

"Over the next three days, we aim to gain insights that will help support and elevate West African music to the world stage."

Nelly Spio-Ababio, Deputy Director of Industrial Arts at GEPA, highlighted the cultural diversity of West Africa showcased through its music and arts scenes.

"GEPA promotes Ghana's non-traditional exportable products, including creative arts. We align with WAMA Fest in prioritising the development of the creative arts sector, which has employed thousands of artisans. This event embodies unity and supports the creative development strategy."

Bessa Simmons, President of MUSIGA, welcomed attendees to the festival.

"This event promises excitement, decisions, master classes, networking, and great performances. I'm thrilled about this first edition of WAMA Fest and commend Prof. Jasmine Young, Warner Brothers, and all industry players involved.

"We look forward to panel discussions on sound production, intellectual property, and copyright, contributing to the development of Ghana's music industry."

Frank Owusu Kwabena of the Creative Arts Agency, emphasised the financial potential of the music industry.

"Recording, touring, and publishing are the main pillars of the industry, all focused on making money. We're excited to professionalize the creative arts space and welcome initiatives like WAMA Fest.

This is the right time to birth a global festival locally and take it worldwide, providing opportunities for our artists to earn decent income."

Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, highlighted the festival's role in promoting West African culture.

"This festival is the convergence of culture, creative arts, and tourism, building the capacity of industry players.

"Let's use this platform to form partnerships, promote our craft, and showcase West Africa's vibrant soul. Encouraging Ghanaians to explore our local attractions through the 'See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, and Feel Ghana' campaign is essential."

The wife of Vice President, Samira Bawumia, delivered an inspiring speech celebrating the festival's significance.

"This event is a celebration of rhythm, culture, and unity. Our musical heritage, from Highlife to Afrobeats, has become a global phenomenon, influencing playlists and hearts worldwide.

"Music and art inspire tourism, creating experiences and fostering connections. As we celebrate today, let's remember that music and arts are universal languages, uniting West Africa and beyond."

The opening ceremony set a vibrant tone for the West African Music and Arts Festival, promising three days of enriching cultural exchange, performances, and discussions aimed at advancing the region's creative industries.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.