By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Since Jon Benjamin, the former UK High Commissioner to Ghana, , we are yet to see another popular diplomat as the French Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Anne-Sophie Avé. Arguably; while H.E. Jon Benjamin’s impact was felt on social media with his oft-sarcastic banter with celebrities and his willingness to engage in all manner of topics – H.E. Anne-Sophie’s impact on the Ghanaian setting is inestimable, especially on the creative industry.
It comes as no surprise that she is the Ambassador/Consular/Commissioner with the highest following on the social media app, Instagram. Clearly, Ghanaians are privy all the good stuff that she has been doing since she was appointed Ambassador of France to Ghana by decree of the President of the French Republic in 2018.
In the last 2 years, she won various prestigious awards including the Diplomat of the Year 2021, Ambassador of the Year and 100 Most Influential Change Makers in Ghana among many others.
To win the heart of a nation, one of the most prudent things to do is embrace their culture, accept the people while you project yours and make it acceptable. In pursuit of such a cause, Her Excellency did it all; visiting our markets, speaking our language, eating our food, enjoying our music and learning our varied dance forms.
In all these, she made the French Embassy one of the friendliest and seemingly, one of the most accessible foreign embassies in Ghana – and in a bid to sell her culture; she created a French-themed show, ‘Touch of France’.
She knew that celebrities commandeer the limelight; they have the following and the affection, so why not use them to project the show and exhibit the French culture? The show was expertly put together and saw the likes of Abedi Pele, Yvonne Okoro, Stonebwoy, Sarkodie, Bisa KDei, Bola Ray, Sandra Ankobiah and many other celebrities grace the show.
The show was awarded the ‘TV Show of the Year at Ghana Media and Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony.
Friend of the Industry
H.E. Anne-Sophie Avé would surely be missed when her tenure ends in the next couple of weeks. There has been no Diplomat who has endeared himself/herself to the heart of the people within the creative industry, as Anne Sophie has, never!
Almost every industry player is a friend with the Diplomat; from musicians to actors to bloggers to dancers. She is genial and affable and seems to get along quite easily.
She gladly opened her doors to members of the creative industry, graced all events she was invited to and willingly collaborated with any event or entity that had the purpose of projecting Ghana in a positive light.
It is most exciting to observe how accommodating and excited she is whenever she is invited to attend Ghanaian-produced events. She is always in the mood and nothing seems forced.
She’s Been Immense
H.E Anne-Sophie Avé has really made an impact. She’s made such an impression in both Ghana and France and her efforts would definitely be etched in the history books.
She was able to strike collaborative deals with both Ghanaian and French artistes and put together exchange programmes between both countries. First came ‘Paris in Accra’ – a show that saw both French and Ghanaian artistes share the stage and their respective crafts in Accra. Then came ‘Accra in Paris’ – another event that witnessed the best of Ghanaian musicians share the stage with some of their French folks in Paris.
Impressively, as she has done throughout most of her projects, she took to Paris quite a number of media men and bloggers to ensure the event garnered the needed publicity and surely, it worked.
Icing on the Cake
The Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), established by law, has the sole responsibility to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of authors/composers and other right owners but for years, the organization has had challenges in executing such duties.
For years, many rights owners have bemoaned the procedures and operations of the organization with some complaining about not getting royalties for their works while others grouse over the paltry sums received as royalties.
Albeit there has been some reprieve with musicians realizing some appreciable increase in their royalties, the core challenges that confront GHAMRO persist and there comes H.E Anne-Sophie Avé to the rescue.
Under normal circumstance, if Ghanaians are not receiving their royalties, how does it affect her? Why should she lose any sleep over the complaints of rights owners?
However, the level of love and affection the Ambassador has developed for the Ghanaian creative industry and its players would just not make her look away.
She is already in talks and negotiating with a publisher (s) in France, that has a more sophisticated and effective mechanisms of collecting royalties to link up with GHAMRO to have the same model adopted in Ghana. How thoughtful!
Among all her accomplishments in Ghana, this gesture with GHAMRO tops all, essentially, because of how critical the subject of royalties is to the livelihood of the right owners. If the venture works, it will go down as probably her biggest achievement in her relations with Ghana and would be long lasting – a move that would change lives and the industry for the better.