FG partners UNWTO, CNN to boost creative industry

Representative of the Bank of Industry, Uche Nwuka; Managing Director, Film One Production, Kene Mkparu; Minister of Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, Folorunso Coker; Chairman, Social Media Weekly, Lagos, Obi Asika and Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, at the Creative Industry RoundTable in Lagos on Monday.

The Federal Government on Monday announced a tripartite partnership with the Cable News Network (CNN) and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), to boost the country’s creative industry, using the film industry as a pivot.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who announced the partnership in Lagos, at the Creative Industry Roundtable, said the partnership would be used ‘’as a lens through which we will project various aspects of the Nigerian Culture, Tourism and similar areas.”

He stated that the project was expected to start with a 13-episode production showcasing the various stages in a movie production. Adding, “These include the choice of location, which will allow us to showcase the various beautiful sceneries available in Nigeria; the choice of wardrobe that will show the rich options in the country’s fashion industry; the choice of sound track that will highlight our rich music genres, the casting that will showcase our abundant talents and the technical part that will provide the platform to show that there is no camera and other gadgets that we don’t have here.

As part of the project, we will also run a programme on CNN showcasing the 20 Nigerians to watch in the Industry. The Nigerians to be showcased will be selected by the industry players themselves to ensure authenticity,’’ the Minister said.

The minister said the trio partnership, as well as the MoUs with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Bank of Industry and the British Council, were part of the efforts by the Federal Government to transform the industry to a creative economy.

According to him, the roundtable was organised to show Federal Government’s willingness to work with the private sector in the transformation of the industry to a creative economy.

This administration has no doubt that the plan to transform this industry to an economic one must be driven by the private sector. After all, it is self-evident that the modest growth that has been achieved in the creative industry so far; whether in films, music or fashion, has been achieved in spite of the government. It, therefore, stands to reason that with the government providing the necessary enabling environment and the private sector in the driver’s seat, the transformation can be realized within a short time,’’ he said.

He, however, stressed that the meeting was not just another talk shop, adding, ‘’The stakeholders, who are here, are already aware of the problems mitigating against the seamless growth of the industry, hence, I don’t expect us to spend quality time here today rehashing those problems. Instead, we should devote our time to seeking practical solutions to the problems we had earlier identified at many forums.’’

Mohammed reiterated that the industry was Nigeria’s new oil as statistics from other countries, including the UK and the US, attest to it.“The creative industry contributed 84.1 billion Pounds Sterling to the British economy in 2014. According to figures released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, that was an increase of 7 billion pounds on the year before. The figures also show that the number of jobs in the industry grew by almost 9% between 2013 and 2014 – almost double the rest of the economy as a whole (4.6%). One of the areas of strongest growth was in film, TV, video, radio and photography, which rose almost 14%.

“In the United States, the creative industry, including Hollywood and broadcasting, contributes more to the U.S. economy than previously thought, the government said in its first official analysis of the arts and culture sector’s economic value. The 2015 report from the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows arts and culture contributed more than 698 billion dollars to the economy, which is about 4.32 percent of U.S. goods and services,” he said.

The minister said the deliberations from the Roundtable would feed into a larger event, ‘The Creative Industry Financing Conference’, which scheduled for 17 and 18 July, at the Eko Hotel in Lagos. He said the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, would be present to declare the conference open

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