Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana

From L-R: Dr. Olivia Anku-Tsede, Prof. Akosua Kesseboa Darkwah, Dr. Mohammed-Aminu Sanda and Dr. Rashida Resario



A 5-year DANIDA Funded Project

The University of Ghana (UG), in collaboration with Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark, and Loughborough University (LU), United Kingdom, has received funding up to the tune of Eleven Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Four thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Danish Krone (DKK 11,994,917) (more than USD 1.8 million) from the Danish Foreign Ministry (DANIDA) to undertake a 5-year research project entitled “Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana (ACIG)”. The UG team is comprised of Dr. Mohammed-Aminu Sanda of the Department of Organization and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana Business School, Prof. Akosua Kesseboa Darkwah from the Department of Sociology, Dr. Olivia Anku-Tsede, the UG Legal Counsel, and Dr. Rashida Resario of the Department of Theatre Arts, School of Performing Arts. The Danish team is comprised of Prof. Thilde Langevang and Prof. Ana Alacovska both from the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), while the United Kingdom team is made up of Prof. Katherine Gough and Prof. Ele Belfiore.

Project Goal

The goal of the ACIG project is to strengthen research capacity through;

  • Collaborative data-collection, analysis and dissemination by the Ghanaian, Danish and British researchers, supported by three (3) Ghanaian and One (1) Danish Postdoc students coming from diverse disciplinary backgrounds spanning the arts, social sciences and business studies.
  • Education of four (4) jointly supervised Ghanaian PhD students, who will spend time in Denmark before and after their fieldwork.
  • Annual workshops with accompanying PhD seminars to facilitate knowledge-exchange and collaboration
  • Collaboration with business practitioners and policy-makers, which will enhance relations between universities, the private and public sector.

Project Objective

The objective of ACIG is to generate novel empirical and theoretical knowledge on how creative industries can contribute to sustainable economic growth and development in an African context. Specifically, the ACIG project will;

  • Examine how government initiatives and policies are influencing the creative sector.
  • Explore the lived experiences and working conditions of creative labour and how these vary by gender, class, religion and place.
  • Analyse the challenges and opportunities for creative entrepreneurship and sustainable business models.
  • Co-produce business models and define effective policies for the creative industries with key stakeholders and policymakers to generate decent jobs and viable businesses.

Project Methodology

The ACIG project will focus on various sub-sectors in the Ghanaian creative industry, such as the music, film, visual arts, fashion design and handicrafts sub-sectors. Data will be collected using qualitative methodologies including in-depth interviews, observations and policy analysis.

The ACIG consists of the following four Work Packages (WPs).

  • WP1 Cultural Policy Analysis (led by Dr. Olivia Anku-Tsede and Prof. Ele Belfiore): In this work package, document analysis of existing policies and interviews with local policy-makers and key stakeholders, including private sector organizations, will be conducted. Cultural policy will be reviewed in conjunction with legal frameworks (such as intellectual property protection) and educational policy (such as art school education and skills development).
  • WP2 Creative Labour (led by Prof. Akosua Kesseboa Darkwah and Prof. Katherine Gough): In this work package, observations and in-depth interviews with creative workers, managers and entrepreneurs will be conducted to understand creative workers’ skillsets, livelihoods, their lived experiences of creative work and responses to institutional infrastructures and government initiatives. The influence of gender, class, religion and place will be explored.
  • WP3 Creative Entrepreneurship and Business Models (led by Dr. Mohammed-Aminu Sanda and Prof. Ana Alacovska): In this work package, in-depth interviews with creative entrepreneurs and key stakeholders in the creative sector, including investors, gallery owners, trade unions and professional associations, will be conducted to investigate the challenges and opportunities of existing business models, such as access to markets, finance, effective intellectual property protection schemes and distribution channels.
  • WP4 Innovative Dissemination (led by Prof. Thilde Langevang and Dr. Rashida Resario): In this work package, dissemination of results will take place in collaboration with local creative practitioners and stakeholders. Innovative participatory dissemination will include videos, exhibitions, slam poetry performance and drama, supplementing more traditional dissemination channels, such as policy briefs.

Expected Results

The expected results include the generation of new knowledge on the creative industries in Ghana which will be disseminated via:


  • A path-breaking book on creative industries in the Global South
  • Publication of fifteen (15) jointly authored articles in internationally recognized scientific journals
  • Four (4) PhD theses
  • Organization of an international scientific conference on creative industries in the Global South.
  • Production of policy briefs
  • Innovative exhibitions, performances and participatory videos

Project Stakeholders

To ensure the impact and sustainability of ACIG, the following private and public sector actors will be engaged as stakeholders throughout the project.


  • Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana/National Commission of Culture
  • MUSIGA (musician union of Ghana)
  • Ghana Design Network (non-profit professional association)
  • Ghana Actors Guild (non-profit professional association)
  • Nubuke Foundation (private cultural institution)
  • Artists Alliance Gallery and Antique Lemonade (privately-owned art spaces)

Project’s Relevance to Ghana

Culture and creative industries are a central part of Ghanaian development policies, with the government committed to strengthening the capacity and capability of the sector to promote development. Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategies emphasized creative industries as potential sources for employment generation, wealth creation and skill development. The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda recognizes the development of ‘a vibrant creative arts industry’ (2015: 17) as a key to enhancing private sector competitiveness and productivity. Currently, government initiatives are consolidating the establishment of a Creative Arts Council. The ACIG project will generate a deeper understanding of the employment conditions and business dynamics in the creative industries and their contribution to inclusive economic growth, which will help inform policies to generate decent jobs and support business scaling-up.

Project’s Relevance to DANIDA

In recent decades, DANIDA has supported the development of the arts and cultural sector in Ghana, emphasizing the importance of creative industries as an engine for economic growth. Denmark-Ghana Partnership Policy 2014-2018 stresses the alignment between cultural cooperation and commercial engagement, which contributes not only to strengthening the private sector, but also promoting a ‘more modern image of Ghana and the New Africa’ (Danida 2014: 18). ACIG dovetails with DANIDA’s current support for private sector development and the promotion of inclusive economic growth and decent jobs. A strong creative industry could contribute significantly to a successful transition ‘from aid to trade’.



Danida (2014). Denmark-Ghana Partnership Policy 2014-2018. Danida. Retrieved from,*Ghana_UK_web.pdf

Danida (2017). The Ghanaian-Danish partnership in transition: From aid to trade: An account of Danida’s private sector support and future perspectives. Retrieved from

Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II (2014-2017). Retrieved from,