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FG partners Tony Elumelu Foundation to move Nigeria’s Creative Industry forward

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture with Tony Elumelu, founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation at the signing ceremony in Lagos on Tuesday

The Federal ministry of Information and  Culture and  The Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos on Tuesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of the creative industry in Nigeria.

The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed during the ceremony, said the partnership will help re-position the Creative Industry in Nigeria. He also expressed strong belief that the collaboration with Tony Elumelu Foundation will usher in the much needed catalyst to evolve A Creative Economy.

“This is the combination of months of hard work from both sides. From the moment the idea of this MOU was conceived, he threw his entire weight and of course that of his foundation to make it a reality.

“From the time I assumed as minister, I have not missed any opportunity to tell anyone who cared to listen of my intention to develop our country’s creative industry and enhance its contribution to the national economy.

“In this regard, I have always said the creative industry must be transformed to a creative economy for it to contribute more to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), for it to provide jobs for our youths and also become a source of foreign exchange earnings.

“It is in the realisation of the potential of this sector that I have gone on record calling the creative industry as well as tourism the new oil for Nigeria.

“The creative industry has turned around the fortunes of California, Mumbai, Turkey, Dubai Australia among others, and we can replicate the same here with the support of partners like the Tony Elumelu Foundation.” He said.

He praised the film (Nollywood) and music industry for its constant growth, promising that the federal government would do its best to protect practitioners from piracy.

”The MoU contained details of how we will work together to execute our partnership. More specifically, the areas of collaboration will include the creation of an enabling business environment for the creative industries with such incentives as easy access to finance; the structuring of the Creative Industries to enable it generate independent revenues locally and also boost exports to increase Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings; and comprehensive statistics about the Creative Industry, including its size and projections, to guide potential local and foreign investors,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said an innovative part of the collaboration ”is the plan to convene a Creative Economy Task Force to map the Creative Industry to provide a better picture of what is happening on the ground and help inform policy development”, adding: ”We also plan to measure the economic contribution of these industries to the Nigerian economy and provide a blueprint for action.”

He explained that the agreement was part of efforts by the Federal Government to ensure that the Creative Industries become a major factor in the ongoing diversification of the country’s economy.

”To reap the full potentials of the Creative Industry, we realized early on that we will need to reach out to organizations that have the capacity and the drive to assist us in achieving our goals, organizations that can utilize their business knowledge, network and technical expertise to assist the Ministry in the development of Nigeria’s Creative Industries.

”This explains why we entered into discussions with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council. The discussions have now yielded fruits. On Aug. 24th 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland, we signed an MoU with the British Council. And today, we are signing another MoU with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Together, we will work to re-position the Creative Industries in Nigeria,” the Minister said.

He said provision must be made for concrete benchmarks ”to measure our progress in the implementation of this MoU” to ensure that ”by the time we conclude the initial two-year period of this historic collaboration, no one will need to strain his eyes to see the achievements”.

Alhaji Mohammed said efforts to lift the Creative Industriy have received support at the highest level of the Administration, adding: ”Last week, at an evening of conversation with the youth, President Muhammadu Buhari not only rallied support for the sector, he also directed that such support must reflect in the budget of the Ministry of Information and Culture in 2017.”

He commended the Chairman of the Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, for throwing his full weight, and that of his Foundation, behind the idea of a partnership between the Ministry and the Foundation to rejuvenate the Creative Industries, which range from advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, fashion, film, interactive leisure and software, music, the performing arts and publishing to Radio and Television.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Elumelu hailed the Minister for the partnership initiative, and assured that even more of his colleagues in the private sector would support the Creative Industries once they are properly structured.

The ceremony was attended by major industry players, including Nollywood and music stars and Comedians, as well as beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, which aims to identify, over 10 years, a total of 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs with ideas that can generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least 10 billion dollars in new annual revenues across Africa.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation was founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu CON. The foundation believes that the private sector holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential.  To that end, its mission is to catalyse economic and social development in Africa through entrepreneurship.

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