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Minister seeks closer Nigeria-US collaboration in creative, culture industry

By Maria Diamond
19 February 2022   |   2:41 am
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for closer collaboration between Nigeria and the United States in the Creative and Culture Industry,

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle); United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Mary Beth Leonard (left) andUS Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms. Akunna Cook, when she paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja …on Thursday.<br />

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for closer collaboration between Nigeria and the United States in the Creative and Culture Industry, especially in improving the quality of Nollywood movies.

The Minister made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he received the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms. Akunna Cook.

He said: “Of immediate importance to us in Nigeria at this time is how to continue to improve the quality of our films. As you know, Nollywood, which is our film industry, is rated among the top three in the world. The quality of our films has improved tremendously over the years, but we can still benefit from the rich experience of America’s Hollywood, the undisputed world best. So 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.”

The Minister further said that the Nigerian government is working hard to reposition the Creative and Culture Industry, which has been badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, because of the immense contribution of the sector to the nation’s GDP.

“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,” he said.

Lai Mohammed listed some strategic interventions from the Nigerian Government in the creative industry to include the N22.9Billion Central Bank of Nigeria Creative Industry Financing Initiatives; the N1Billion Bank of Industry Nollyfund; another N1Billion Bank of Industry Fashion and Beauty Fund; N-Power Creative and Project Act Nollywood Federal Grant. He said the government is still exploring other avenues to further give the sector a lift.

In her remarks, Ms. Cook said during her three-day visit to Nigeria, she focused on the developments in the Creative Industry and Digital Technology. She said Nigeria’s Creative Industry has proven to be not only a driver of the economy but a significant player in changing the world’s perception about Africa, particularly Nigeria.

Ms. Cook also commended the Nigerian Government for refurbishing the National Theatre, Lagos, which, she said, would create an eco-system and provide phenomenal opportunities for the stakeholders in the Creative Industry.

She pledged the readiness of the US Government to collaborate with Nigeria towards boosting the creative Industry in the country.