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‘How creativity can drive national development, reduce youth unemployment rate’


Kanyinsola Obayan

Kanyinsola Obayan

Encouraging creativity and innovation, particularly among youths in the country can salvage Nigeria’s failing economic and reduce the growing rate of youth unemployment, experts said.

According to the experts and teenagers, who gathered at a 5-day creative arts workshop in Lagos, organised by a New York-based nonprofit organisation, Orísun Collective to cultivate the passion for arts and culture among Nigerian youths as alternative to economic growth, desired national development is achievable if efforts are concentrated on driving creativity in the country.

Indeed, the participants lamented that Nigeria’s current economic shortfall and unemployment figure were the direct consequence of the lack of strategic plans by government to promote non-oil initiatives.

Speaking at the event Founder and Executive Director of the organisation, Kanyinsola Obayan said innovation remained the engine of every society but Nigeria has not tapped into the opportunity.

“Nigeria has always been a mono-economy depending on crude oil”, Obayan said, adding that it is high time government prioritise creativity as means of economic diversification.

“World economy in creative arts is over $600 billion but Africa’s contribution is less than one per cent of that figure,” she said.

Obayan, who is Deputy Editor, Applause Africa and PhD Student, Cornell University, U.S. said the initiative targets harnessing talents in the creative sector to add meaningfully to the economy of the country.

To her, looking at the success of developed countries, the organisation realise the importance of innovation in driving sustainable economic growth and development, adding that the summer camp, organised for children of ages 14-17 at Temple Secondary School in Ikeja, was an attempt to fully insert Nigerian children within the global narrative of innovation.

She said the programme would remain an inclusive and affirmative space for Nigerian children, who would be interested in exploring the creative arts for everyday artistic expression or as a professional career.

Speaking on ‘Understanding the role of innovation and creativity in the development of Nigeria’, keynote speaker at the event, who is the Lead Editor, Ndani TV, Nicole Asinugo said both innovation and creativity drive development.

Though Nigeria has a long way to go in terms of development but people must decide to go creative and innovative so that the country could “get one step closer”, Asinugo said.

However, she added that for Nigeria to understand the role of creativity and innovation in national development, the people must first understand ourselves.

“Please realise that you do not have to think outside the box. Because the rules have changed and successful companies have shown us that there is no box,” Asinugo said.

According to her, Nigeria has depended on natural resources for so many years, but with recent economic changes, oil may no longer be a top earner.

The creative writing instructor at the summer camp, Seun Odukoya  who believes that the only creativity remained the only hope for Nigeria, said importation has been a major barrier to the development of creativity and innovation in the country.

Odukoya said: “Everybody tells you don’t need to produce, you only need money to buy so our originality is not encouraged.”

He stressed that for national development to happen, people must find individual expressions through creativity.

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