In June this year, the Nigerian government, through the office of the Vice President, inaugurated an advisory group – Technology and Creativity Council – to “add value to the existing policies by coming up with an inclusive and all-embracing roadmap for promoting the technology and creative sector so that they can create jobs, contribute to growth and improve the well-being of Nigerians,” according to the VP Yemi Osinbajo.
This council was charged to deliver on three (3) key objectives:
- An inclusive and all-embracing roadmap – to help reduce unemployment while also improving the creative industry’s contribution to the national income.
- Improved public-private partnership – to collaborate with relevant government ministers and heads of agencies and leading business people to boost public-private partnership.
- Increased opportunities – to help facilitate and increase opportunities available in the creative and technology sector.
However, over three months after, talks are sprouting about the group’s inactivity since its inauguration, hinting at possible issues with implementation, regardless of the laudable intent and strategy of forming this group.
The Great Need
Nigeria’s economy, which is considered the largest in Africa, is so dependent on its oil and gas sector, which accounts for over 95% of the country’s export earnings and about 40% of government revenues, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Ranked 22nd largest economy globally, Nigeria’s economy is projected to rise through the world rankings to top 10 by 2050, with a projected GDP of $6.4 Trillion, surpassing Germany, United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia; according to PwC.
However, to achieve this, Nigeria has to reduce its overdependence on crude oil and diversify its economy. The country’s potential for economic growth lies beyond oil, and it has become more imperative now given the expectations of lower for longer oil prices.
Quick Definition of Creative Industries
Creative Industries are defined by UNCTAD (2008) as “cycles of creation, production and distribution of goods and services that use creativity and intellectual capital as primary inputs.” These “constitute a set of knowledge-based activities, focused on but not limited to arts, potentially generating revenues from trade and intellectual property rights” and “comprise tangible products and intangible intellectual or artistic services with creative content, economic value and market objectives.” Being “at the cross-road among the artisan, services and industrial sectors,” they constitute “a new dynamic sector in world trade.”
Building Nigeria’s Creative Industry
Creative Industries have proven in other economies to be a solid vehicle for sustainable economic growth, inclusive development and poverty alleviation in developing economies.
Following observations with creative industries in several developed economies, it was ascertained that a one-size-fits-all approach is doomed to fail when it comes to building creative industries, especially because each sub-sector of creative industries require solutions that target the specific challenges and barriers that they face, so that the system as a whole can remain on the cutting edge.
The cross-cutting nature of creative industries implies that policies seeking to develop this particular industry will have extensive effect on a range of other development areas. It is therefore crucial to analyse and develop the eco-system to enable creative industry development in Nigeria at three key levels, i.e. at the micro, meso and macro level.
The Way Forward
Nigeria should not disregard the importance of validating a methodology for the sustainable and inclusive development of MSMEs in the creative sector. The country needs to develop a holistic approach that will foster the sustainability of technical cooperation and capacity building programmes and initiatives. There has to be an interest and target for the local marketing of creative industry products, demand-supply assessment and cooperation between firms and educational institutions, and policymaking for development of Nigeria’s creative industry.
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