A Rebirth For Arts, Culture, Creative Economy

By Deji Ayoola

Beyond a seeming cosmetic spruce-up, the new Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, FMACCE, actually benefits from a fundamental vision tweak and structural reconceptualization from which the impactful achievements it has recorded within a year flow.

A baby of the “Renewed Hope Agenda” and rigorous visioning by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s new Nigeria that works, FMACCE, under the circumspect guidance of the youthful minister, Barr. Hannatu Musa Musawa, has chalked up some key achievements as of Q1 in 2024, less than a year since she gracefully set sail at the instance of the President.

“As a nation, we are trying to diversify from oil, and the creative economy is a strong alternative as the new oil because the future of the country depends on the creative sector.

“Nigerian creatives all over the world are doing great things and that is why our ministry is set to be a beacon of creativity, innovation, and inclusivity,” the sure-footed lawyer, Musawa, recently told her audience in a keynote address at the opening of the 2024 management retreat for the ministry workers and its agencies in Abuja.

Cutting to the heart of her mandate, she further stated that, “We play a critical role in shaping the creative and cultural landscape of our nation while promoting and preserving Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

“Since the establishment of the Ministry by President Bola Tinubu, we have witnessed remarkable achievements and milestones, thanks to the dedication and passion of our predecessors and key stakeholders within the sector.

“From the establishment of cultural institutions to the implementation of landmark Policies, Project and Programmes, our Ministry has been and will continue to be at the forefront of driving positive change and transformation.”

FMACCE is committed to aligning itself with the presidential priorities enunciated by President Tinubu for Ministers and top government functionaries back in November 2023. These include reforming the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth, strengthening national security for peace and prosperity, boosting agriculture to achieve food security, among others.

Musawa nailed it when she insisted that, “The Art, Culture, and the Creative Economy sectors have a crucial role to play in achieving these priorities and are critical drivers of economic growth and job creation. By ensuring the development and continued investment in these sectors, we can harness their potential to stimulate innovation, promote entrepreneurship and attract investments, thereby contributing to the diversification and resilience of our economy.”

With notable clarity and emphasis, she reaffirmed her Ministry’s commitment to working together to ensure that the efforts that birthed FMACCE are consolidated and institutionalised. Significantly, Musawa who boldly proclaimed that the creative economy is Nigeria’s “new oil” has kept her pledge, mirrored in the impressive, critical grounds FMACCE has covered on her watch, despite the bracing challenges.

As the administration of President Tinubu marks its first anniversary in office, it will be pertinent to track its governance progress. It is a good opportunity to beam the searchlight on the achievements of FMACCE.

Under Musawa’s stern watch, the FMACCE, as at the first quarter [Q1] of 2024, recorded a total of 1,005 individuals trained in professional development programs in the creative sub-sectors through NICO, National Theatre, NFC, NFI, NGA, MOWAA. It has also recorded a total of 103 trainees trained in cultural and creative academies established in partnership with higher institutions. These remarkable positives come under capacity building/training of individuals across the creatives sector.

The Ministry has also embarked on PPP for infrastructure renovation/construction. The ongoing renovation of the National Theatre through PPP with the CBN & The Bankers Committee.

On crucial partnerships and collaboration front, it has Commenced mapping of potential domestic and international partnerships and collaborations across all sub-sectors. It has signed MOUs for partnership with the Recording Academy (Grammy’s); the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in collaboration with NCMM, ABU Zaria, and AUN Yola.

On the critical job Creation, the Ministry has recorded a total of 257,754 new jobs created. In terms of its contribution to the nation’s GDP, it has scaled up GDP contribution share by 0.37% from 1.3% to a current GDP share of 1.67%.

Within the period of assessment which is under a year, FMACCE has increased the number of Nigerian Cultural Heritage on UNESCO Representative List by two. These include the Sango Festival Oyo and Midwifery.

On the Soft Power front, FMACCE has spearheaded the increase in Nigeria’s cultural influence which expanded from 2.5% to 46% and also recorded increase in Nigeria’s cultural influence which also expanded from 2.5% to 46%. It further recorded increase in Nigeria’s Brand Perception Index from 1.5% to 18%.

In terms of stakeholder engagement, it conducted 18 stakeholder engagement events with the public through Industry stakeholder workshops, CEBAAC and NGA.

Against the foregoing backdrop, it is indeed indisputable that the creative economy is a fountain of opportunities, a wellspring of economic growth, and a catalyst for societal transformation. It is also a testament to the ingenuity of Nigerians, the richness of her cultural heritage and the boundless imagination that defines it as a nation. The FMACCE boss has nimbly demonstrated this and promises even more.

It was then not surprising that looking ahead, the Minister, FMACCE, has solemnly pledged that her ministry will facilitate the creation of two million jobs for the employment of qualified Nigerians.

Hear her: “We are trying to diversify from oil through the creative industry. Job creation is key and we want to create and contribute 2 million jobs by 2027. We want to increase the GDP of Nigeria by 100 billion dollars by 2030. It is doable. We are going to work round the clock to ensure we are able to do that.”

Clearly, President Tinubu, through the reconceptualization and creation of the new FMACCE, has demonstrated his genuine commitment to supporting the growth and development of the Art, Culture, and the Creative Economy Sectors. He clearly recognizes the vital role these sectors play in the national development agenda.

It’s then little wonder that President Tinubu has peered into the future and proclaimed his administration would create a trillion-dollar economy in ten years. For Doubting Thomases, it could be readily recalled that the US State of California recorded over three trillion-dollar GDP in 2023 by leveraging its human and technological resources.

Leaning on his “Renewed Hope Agenda,” the emerging consensus is that indeed President Tinubu can leverage Nigeria’s population and resources to build a trillion-dollar economy within the next decade.

The President had noted that achieving his ambitious goal of creating a trillion-dollar economy in ten years can be further facilitated by ongoing efforts on job creation, access to capital for SMEs, inclusiveness, the rule of law and the fight against insecurity, hunger, poverty and corruption. Barr. Musawa is certainly a key player in that compelling big picture.

What’s more. The FMACCE boss Musawa has demonstrated a special awareness and knows it’s no secret that today, the world, Africa and Nigeria stand on the brink of substantial disruptions – and also of considerable opportunity – as new governance, political and business models challenge traditional playbooks.

She has demonstrated capacity, competence and compelling leadership in her previous engagements. The FMACCE under her watch as well as the nation are already benefiting from these critical capabilities as she drives the creative economy.

● Dr Ayoola, a Cultural Anthropologist, writes in from Lagos.

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