Support Nigeria’s creative sector needs



The arts and culture industry has tremendous potential and can contribute significantly to the economic growth of the nation. Unfortunately, successive governments have often paid little attention to this industry.

The creative industry has been one of the least funded sectors of the economy despite its huge potential to contribute to job and wealth creation, poverty eradication and, of course, quality of life.

When the economy was rebased in 2013, the arts and culture sector contributed over 1.5 per cent to the economy and also created employment for our youths. It has the power to influence international perception of the country through cultural diplomacy.

Going forward, we need to understand and measure the Nigerian creative industry. Understanding the different aspects of the creative industry and what they contribute to Nigeria’s economy is a crucial first step towards harnessing the huge potentials of the creative industry and to avoid the mistakes of the past so the creative industry can become better and stronger.

To fully understand and tap into the potentials of the sector, we need a proper mapping of the creative industry to identify the artistic and cultural assets of Nigeria and maintain a creative industry data that can be used for planning, economic development strategies and budgetary purposes.

Government Needs To Develop Strategies To Provide Support For The Creative Industry
There is need for specific policies, programmes and initiatives conceived to promote economic development through arts and culture. These programmes should include art infrastructure development, creative industry business funding and support, skill acquisition, incentive policies and public-private collaborations. These programmes should be tailored to encourage investment and growth in the industry.

If the creative industry enjoys such attention and support from government, it will attract both local and foreign attention/investment. You will find more people interested in creative industry start-ups and other sectors of the economy willing to collaborate with the creative industry because of government interest and policy directions.

Support For Small Businesses And Individual Entrepreneurs In The Creative Industry
Art and culture at large are promoted by individuals and small enterprises owned by people who are talented, creative and artistic. Most creative industry businesses in Nigeria are small and largely unorganized. Also, many artists are self-employed and work from home or small spaces in government properties like the artist village at the National Theatre, with little or no infrastructure to support their creativity.

Introducing schemes that support small businesses and offer grants will stimulate a creative revolution. When you also introduce business development and management training and financial management support, these businesses will, by and large, grow.

Grants should also be such that can encourage expansion of creative industry businesses and cultural organisations; corporate and individual donations to support the arts should be encouraged and applauded.

Develop Art Infrastructure
Successful production of art and artistic services depends on the availability of adequate and sometimes specialised facilities. Art spaces such as theatres, studios and galleries help stir economic activity by attracting visitors from both inside and outside the country. They become hubs for other kinds of socio-economic activities and can become powerful societal revitalization assets, even when the economy is distressed or in recession.

Nigeria is seriously in need of more art spaces; there is almost no purpose-built theatre in Nigeria. The National theatre, which would have been a model, is run-down and is not attracting audiences due to security concerns.

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