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With talents, artworks competition, CBN deepens orange economy

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In the world over, the culture, creative industries (CCIs) have been included in strategies for development in 21st century. Also known as the ‘orange economy’, the creative economy, which covers everything from art and films to video games, fashion and music are seen as having potential to drive the economy and build future entrepreneurs, who could participate in a growing global economy. They are also seen as essential to growth in a modern economy.

While there is clearly no shortage of talent in Nigeria, it nevertheless has been relatively poor in profiting from it. Its presence in global markets for creative goods and services has been stagnated by its limited capacity, obsolete policies and regulations, as well as underinvestment in the industry, particularly infrastructure.

Last year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria held its first series of development conversations with the Nigerian creatives dubbed #CreateToDevelop. They are aimed at creating platforms for conversations that can constructively inform Nigeria’s development agenda that is people driven including creation of opportunities that invest in young people’s innovation and creativity.

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Expounding on role of creatives in social reforms and behavioural change, Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP Resident Representative to Nigeria noted that, Nigeria’s creative sector has over the years played a critical role in influencing the growth of Africa’s arts and culture.

Mr Yahya explained, “while policies are crucial for reforms and development in any country, it is only by amplifying the psychology of progress through creative story-telling in every form that we can aspire to becoming a generation that believes in themselves to do better.”

Realising the potential of CCIs and as part of efforts to boost job creation, particularly among youths, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), last week Tuesday, launched a talents, artworks and skills competition for Nigerians between the ages 18 and 35 as part of the Global Money Week programme.

The CBN disclosed this in a statement, adding that eligible participants might win electronics gadgets including an Apple MacBook Pro, HP Pavilion x360 and Apple i-Pad Pro.

“Showcase your talents, artworks and skills by posting a 120 seconds video or a photo on how you can Take Care of Yourself and Take Care of Your Money,” CBN said.

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The grand finale will hold via Zoom March 30.The Creative Industry Finance Initiative (CIFI) was created in 2018 to facilitate access to seed money for small entrepreneurs and creators to further encourage the creative drive and stimulate the economy.

Recently, the CBN/Bankers Committee took over the National Theatre, Lagos, with the aim of revamping it to a world-class creative hub that will attract local hospitality and international tourism prospects, and thereby boost the sector’s GDP contribution.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had projected that the upgrade of the theatre would create a minimum of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs during the project’s construction phase. This is in addition to the 25,000 employees Emefiele noted would be engaged in different sections of the monument when the “Signature Cluster” of the building is completed. The Signature Cluster of the building according to Emefiele will consist of a building each for music, film, fashion and information technology verticals.

He said the creative hub expected to pilot in Lagos would benefit 50,000 Nigerians and create over 150,000 skilled and unskilled jobs.

He explained: “We cannot afford to let the talents of our youthful population go to waste, as it would portend great dangers for the progress of our nation.

“Efforts must therefore be made to harness the innovative and creative energy of our youths towards enabling them to create productive ventures that will support improved wealth and job creation in Nigeria.

Recall that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, hinging on government’s diversification policy, has seized various fora to persuade Nigerians on the need to jettison the oil sector and embrace agriculture or the creative industry owing to their capacity for massive job creation.

In the last three years, the Bank has intervened positively in the remaking of Nigeria’s Orange Economy. It has shown that the creative economy can trigger a value chain between artists, entrepreneurs, distributors and support services across multiple sectors to provide modern jobs. How government should enable its cultural assets to be a significant contributor to the economy. Efforts have made it easier for artists and producers of creative goods to produce locally as well as for export.

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Though the CBN has intervened with a couple of programmes, there is still need for a coherent policy articulation and execution that will enhance the viability of the creative industries.

There is need to have an agenda for policy-makers on critical interventions that could enhance the contribution of the creative industries to the country’s economic progress is essential.

With Burna Boy and Wiz Kid’s successes at the recent Grammy Awards, the next step is to incorporate these significant levels of influence in the country’s branding. Leveraging it will not only allow Nigeria to truly position itself as the leader of the continent, but it will also help the country take the place of increased prominence on the global stage, and in high powered conversations.

But as the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had disclosed that Nigeria was seriously looking to the private sector to deliver the economy from its mono-product status.

“Our greatest strength lies in our creative industry, our music, and our films. That is one area we need to build on because that is one area we have comparative advantage over many other countries.”

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