The entire creative industry in Africa has the opportunity to access funds to the tune $500million from the Africa Export Import Bank to cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector and also to put the industry in the right footing for a more sustainable post Covid-19 era.
The President of AFRIXIM and Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Benedict Oramah made the declaration on Wednesday during his presentation at the virtual forum of the African Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who chaired the forum stated that the Nigerian Government will amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts to enable it to play a pivotal role in responding to the demands of the sector, which has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also revealed some of the deliberate strategies the government was putting in place to bring succor to the sector.
He particularly mentioned that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also set aside 50 billion Naira for small business enterprise and the Creative Industry to support the industry in the post Covid-19 era.
”We have decided to amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts so it can better meet the demands of the sector, which has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
”The main objectives of the Endowment is to support every medium and area of creative activity in the art, culture and heritage sector, as well as foster professional excellence in the sector”
Alhaji Mohammed, who doubles as the 2nd Vice Chairperson of the African Union’s 3rd Specialized Technical Committee on Youth Culture and Sport said the Creative Industry remains the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic because it is audience-centred and with the social distancing, ban on mass gathering and travel restrictions put in place globally, the fortunes of the industry has taken a nose dive.
“This is why we have decided to face the challenges squarely. Realizing the imperative of having a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the situation, we have set up a 22-member stakeholders committee, cutting across art, culture, heritage, tourism, streaming, music, film, etc., to come up with immediate, short and long term economic stimulus and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector.
“I have no doubt that the measures we are putting in place will yield positive results in sustaining the Creative Industry in Nigeria in the days to come. I also look forward to sharing in the experiences from other member-nations of the African Union in tackling the challenges occasioned by the pandemic,” the Minister said.
Tackling the pandemic
In her presentation which represented the position of the African Union, the A.U Commissioner in charge of Social Affiars, Mrs Amira Elfadil said the continents Art, Culture and Heritage sector must device a strategic continental approach to tackle the pandemic especially considering how devastating it has been on the sector.
Looking at the socio economic consequences the virus has placed on the sector and economy at large Mrs Elfadil said there was an urgent need for a coordinated effort and initiative to pull through in a sustainable manner.
The virtual meeting, which was chaired by Alhaji Mohammed, was joined by about 20 Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa, who made presentations.
In their presentations, all the Ministers mentioned some interventions or strategies in place by their different governments to cushion the effect of the pandemic on the sector.