The Nigerian and United States governments have strategized to further deepen working relations in the area of creative industry development.
The two countries had an in-depth discussion about creative industry development on Thursday in Abuja when the U.
S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Ms Akunna Cooks in company of the U.
S Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Berth Leonard paid a courtesy call on Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister.
Speaking at the meeting, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the visit couldn’t have come at a better time, considering that Nigeria was working hard to reposition the Creative and Culture Industry which has been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Creative and Culture Industry is a key sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing 17.
3% to the country’s GDP in 2020 and, together with other seemingly unrelated sectors, providing between 10 and 15 million jobs.
Indeed, the Creative and Culture Industry is the biggest employer of labour after Agriculture.
Realizing the need to give the sector a shot in the arm in the wake of the pandemic, Alhaji Mohammed said the Nigerian government had set up a committee, tagged Covid-19 Initiatives on the Creative and Culture Industry, to assess the impact of the pandemic on the sector and recommend measures to mitigate such.
“The committee did an excellent job and, before you leave, I will present a copy to you to give you an overview of the importance and relevance of the sector to the Nigerian economy.
Let me quickly say that the industry, which includes Film/tv/radio, Music, Performance Arts, IT, Gaming and Software development, Publishing and Printing as well as Fashion and Tourism, has received strategic interventions from the Nigerian Government in the past.
L-R: United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms.
Mary Beth Leonard; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms.
Akunna Cook when she paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on Thursday.
Mohammed disclosed that some of the interventions include the 22.
9 Billion Naira Central Bank of Nigeria Creative Industry Financing Initiatives; the 1 Billion Naira Bank of Industry Nollyfund; another 1 Billion Naira Bank of Industry Fashion and Beauty Fund; N-Power Creative and Project Act Nollywood Federal Grant.
We are still exploring other avenues to further give the sector a lift.
The Minister however said of immediate importance to Nigeria at this time is how to continue to improve the quality of film production.
“Nigeria can still benefit from the rich experience of America’s Hollywood, the undisputed world best.
Apart from improving the quality of our production through technical training and exchanges, we will also like to learn a few tricks in the area of Animation.
Deepening creative ties
In her remarks, the U.
S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Africa Affairs, Ms Akunna Cook said the U.
S was interested in deepening its relationship with Nigeria in the area of creative industry development.
Ms Cook said she was in Nigeria to share experiences and reflection on her visit and meeting with different stakeholders.
She said the Nigerian creative industry especially the film, music have taken the Nigerian brand across the globe with a shining light.
“Wherever you are, from Australia to Iceland, Washington to other parts of the world, Afro beat genre is making huge waves and showcasing Nigeria.
Ms Cook however revealed some of her experience while meeting stakeholders; she said government must do more for the industry, as the industry is experiencing an organic growth where it strides even without government’s support in most cases.
She also called for government’s intervention in the area of copyrights and general intellectual property protection as well as training in the business and investments expertise in the industry.
On the digital side, she called for more access to the social media.
According to her, the platform helps in investments, sharing and selling of brands and many other activities.
Ms Cook said Nigeria’s dynamism is felt across the globe presently hence investors in streaming are showing interest in putting money in the area of Africa cartoon production.
However she said such investors are concerned with the issue of accessing foreign exchange, which according to her must be looked into.
S to deepen creative industry ties