The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) has called on Africans to be deliberate in the exploration of the continent’s arts and cultural potential for improved economic growth.
CBAAC’s Director-General, Chief Oluwabunmi Amao, made the call during the centre’s annual international conference , with theme, “Arts, Culture and the Development of African Creative Economy”, held on Thursday in Lagos.
Amao said that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Document recognises arts, culture and creative economy as one of the major areas that can foster rapid economic development for any nation desirous of eradicating poverty.
She said that with the consciousness that Africa had large arrays of unexplored rich cultural resources which were under-utilised, the continent must take conscious efforts to further explore the potential in the sector.
“The creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the global economy, offering new and high-growth opportunities, especially for developing and emerging countries.
“It contributes to meeting the sustainable development goals by generating income and export earnings, and by creating jobs, as outlined in the United Nations Creative Economy Report for 2020.
“Creative goods and services boost economies and contribute to inclusive social development.
“For the continent of Africa, our arts and culture represent creativity and they remain critical to the advancement of the creative economy in Africa.
“At a time when the rate of unemployment is alarming and the youthful population continues to grow geometrically, arts, culture and the creative sector hold the key to channelling such youthful energies to productive use,” she said.
Also, Duro Oni, a Professor of Creative Arts, said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be achieved with proper exploration of the economic potential in African arts and culture.
According to him, African artistic and cultural productions has much to contribute to the actualisation of the MDGs and the development of the continent.
He said that African arts and culture could contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger by creating employment opportunities, thereby achieving the MDGs objective of poverty eradication.
He noted that these employment opportunities would not just be for the professionals in the various fields of arts and culture on the African continent but also for the teeming youths of the continent.
“The MDGs especially as they pertain to the African continent have attracted a lot of scholarly interventions but the roles African arts and culture can play in their realisation has been ignored,” he said.
Oni noted that the eight goals of the MDGs were interconnected and failure in one or two of the goals would often result in failure in the others.
He explained that the eight-point agenda of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu, as regards Nigeria’s arts and culture, with theme, “Nigeria Destination 2030”, was probably birthed due to the realisation of the economic potential of arts and culture.
“As development experts have asserted, Africa’s creative economy which include film, music, art, fashion and other cultural goods and services have the potential to generate millions of dollars in income for African artists and their communities.
“This is actually true and African artistes need to leverage the current global interest in African cultural products to generate more revenue for their creativity,” he said.
Dr Amos Adediran of the Department of Social Studies, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, spoke on the need to reposition the youth for self-reliance through apprenticeship scheme.
Adediran said the youth should be allowed to engage in entrepreneurship scheme like welding, auto-mechanics, tailoring, generator repairing, phone/laptop repairing, hair dressing, plumbing and other businesses.
“The need to promote apprenticeship in today’s Nigerian educational system cannot be over emphasised.
“The Yoruba apprenticeship activities in recent times have a commendable effort toward improving standard of living and reduction of unemployment from the rural to urban settings.
“Nigerians and people of other developing countries of the world should emulate the Yoruba apprenticeship culture for the economic development of the individual and that of their nation.
“There should be a period of at least one year which every student should go for apprenticeship practical in order to make mastery of any trade he or she would like to settle with before graduation.
“Every culture should try as much as possible to promote their traditional and cultural heritage in order not to allow their vocational culture to die,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Akeem Akinwale of the Department of Employment Relations and Human Resource Management, University of Lagos, said that the interest in the development of culture should be the starting point of youth innovation in the creative industry.
Akinwale noted that all the agents of socialisation should encourage the youth to develop interest in the creative industry.
“Existing support for youth innovation should be simplified and clearly communicated,” he said.