Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy
Within the framework of the economy, and the requirements of this paper, culture is heritage property or object inherited, allotted, or handed down as physical, natural, tangible, or intangible stock or endowment. It constitutes resources whose spread and utilization reflect the ways of life of a people with whom they are endowed, the way the people perceive themselves and are perceived by others; their capacities – human, infrastructural and institutional; their skills and means of translating their endowments into dividends of development.
Culture and heritage are, this way, interchangeable and manifest in industry and trade, in science and technology and in information systems and a knowledge base. Heritage, consequently, comprises all natural and cultural elements, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, which are inherited or newly created. Through heritage, social groups recognize their own identity and commit themselves to pass it on to future generations in a better and enriched form. No national process of reform, change or diversification of the economy can neglect the heritage which encompasses the cultural, industrial and technological landscapes whose conservation serves to promote regeneration and renewal and is an important aspect of management and development. These components have far-reaching ramifications for all national policies whether cultural, economic, political, scientific, technological, educational, social, agricultural, or industrial. Thus, defined in relation to culture, the heritage resources comprise:
- Facilities which provide venues for performances or serve as depositories and repositories-like libraries, archives, bookshops, craft shops, museums, studios, theatres, tennis courts, galleries, conference halls and community centres,
- Structures which are symbols of the people’s achievements and centres of excellence providing housing and rallying points for sports, arts and culture like stadiums, theatres, monuments, arcades, squares, mausoleums, etc.
- Institutions, traditional or modern, for preserving and promoting the value systems and enhancing the people’s capacities and exchange with their neighbours, including chieftaincies and religious institutions, age grades, guilds, vocational schools, traditional systems of training, art, design and sports institutions.
- Cultural practices and traditions used for social control, for promoting community security and well-being, commemorating and marking events of historical, religious and political significance and preserving the cultural identity;
- The Arts, encompassing sights and sounds, for promoting the image and identity of the society, namely:
– Media arts – Film, video, audio recording, photography, etc.
– Design arts – Architecture, environmental design/planning industrial, graphic, fashion and interior design,
– Visual arts – Sculpture, painting, print making, crafts, mixed media etc
– Performing arts – Music, dance, drama/theatre, puppetry, acrobatics, etc; and
– Literary arts – Poetry, plays, novels, computer books, non-fiction, etc;
- Sports including athletics, soccer, wrestling, martial arts, swimming, basketball, cricket, golf, cycling, motor rally, walking, jogging and boxing which can be used to keep fit, promote local and global competitiveness and create jobs and economic empowerment;
- Organisations and agencies in the public and private sectors for managing, promoting, preserving and developing the cultural heritage like Arts Councils, Sports Councils, Sports Associations. Cultural Associations, Artistic societies, NGOs, etc;
- Natural resources encompassing the natural and physical heritage, viz,
– The forests and plant life which are sources of raw materials for arts culture and sports, oral traditions and folklore, and are linked to religions and religious practices,
– The waters which sustain life and folklore and are linked to recreation and religion and, as waterfalls, lagoons, lakes, seas and beaches, are objects of veneration and tourist attractions,
– Animal life which supports folklore cultural production and sports and, together with the forests, hills and beaches constitute the attraction of beaches, parks and game reserves,
– The minerals which are sources of raw materials for cultural productions like cosmetics, pottery, weaponry and implements, medicine, folklore and oral traditions; and
– Indigenous knowledge know-how and technology (iron smelting, metal casting, distilling and processing, traditional medicine, etc.) whose products are distinctive and give character and identity to a people.
Economy, in this context, refers to the practical adjustment, organisation or administration of affairs or resources of a state’. Any reform for managing the resources would, of necessity, affect and involve the use, organisation and deployment of human resources in the quest for change and improvement. Culture’s economic value is logically expected to enjoy a pride of place in the turn-around created by reform by:
- Serving as a tool for enhancing and promoting a country’s image and identity through the endeavours of its artists, writers, sportsmen and designers:
- Promoting intercultural exchange, national cohesion and a sense of community through arts, culture and sports; and
- Enhancing socio-economic development, poverty reduction, employment creation and revenue generation and promoting an equitable distribution of the fruits of development.
The Cultural Industries and the Dakar Plan of Action for Development1
In repositioning culture in a diversified economy, our development strategies would have taken advantage of our unique position of constituting a fourth of Africans and a fifth of black peoples. It would have benefitted from the implementation of the Dakar Plan of Action on cultural industries for developing African countries and the co-temporal World Decade for Cultural Development, a United Nations programme which lasted from 1988 to 1997 and whose postulate was that the cultural dimension is the key factor in development.
The Dakar Plan of Action was the outcome of a series of sub-regional seminars held between 1985 and 1990 with a concluding meeting in January 1992 in Nairobi organized by UNESCO and OAU with the support of UNDP, the Social and Cultural Foundation of EEC/ACP and the participation of ECOWAS, SADCC, ICA and EACROTANAL. It was prepared by 40 experts from 17 African countries representing sectors including the cottage industries and arts, music, cinema, literature, publishing, the press, audiovisual, African traditional healing art and technology, and tourism; and 17 representatives of 10 IGOs and NGOs. The cultural industries on which the Plan’s prescription is founded are:
- Book and publishing,
- Handicrafts (cottage, small and medium scale),
- Music (and music recording),
- Cinema and film,
- Radio and television,
- Entertainment (theatre, concerts) etc.,
- Art and applied art,
- Design (fashion and clothing, architecture and graphics),
- Cultural and eco-tourism museums,
- The press,
- African traditional healing art, and
- Indigenous technology and know-how.
The Dakar Plan was a response to the wishes and resolutions of the African Heads of State and Government within the context of the African Cultural Common Market established by the Conference of African Ministers of Culture at Yaounde in 1990 (attended by Ambassador Mamman Anka, the Nigerian Minister) and the African Economic Community Treaty signed by African Head of State at Abuja on June 3, 1991.
Culture’s socio-economic impact is felt through the creative artist who plays a crucial role in the formulation and articulation of society’s shared beliefs and values, the stimulation of its collective ingenuity and imagination and their translation: an invaluable process largely responsible for, among other things, our fashion and dress culture, the architectural landscapes of our towns and cities, and the functional aesthetics of our interior and industrial design which is applied to virtually all objects of modern life. Its quality, appeal and practical aspects are a key factor in determining consumer choice.
Tourism and Culture
Culture’s role in relation to tourism, ‘reveals itself as a stimulus or motivation encouraging people to travel.2 The main attractions are peoples, customs, beliefs, the landscape and everyday life and activities. Because it is involved with the identification, interpretation and celebration of peoples’ contributions to society and history-and nature’s bounty, tourism’s major concerns are with eco-tourism, cultural tourism, hospitality, reception, services and marketing. Unlike other foreign exchange earners, tourism involves sending the consumer to a country rather than exporting the commodity out of it.
The international tourist arrivals figure in 1998 came to 636 million with corresponding aggregate revenue of $441 billion. Of these totals, Africa’s share was a paltry 32.2 million arrivals and an overall income of $9.8 billion representing 3.6% of global arrivals and 2.2% of world receipts. Nigeria’s official declaration a decade or two before, of tourism as the preferred sector of the economy thus represents a yearning for a greater share of global benefits. According to available studies, the tourist’s main motivation up till the 1980s was still the need to escape from the humdrum routine of industrial society. Today’s tourist however, is looking for a meaning, for an alternative to a way of life which is rapidly becoming universal and which can already be qualified as ‘postmodern3.
Cultural events like concerts, soccer, athletics, motor rallies, boxing, art exhibitions, carnivals and festivals, draw hundreds of thousands of visitors willing to spend a lot of money on travel to experience culturally enriching activities which are regular crowd pullers and revenue earners4. These activities contributed in 1998 to the increase of world hotel accommodation capacity from 9million to 13million rooms in the space of ten years; and were responsible, in 1995, for 11.4% of world investments, 10.9% of gross world products, 10.7% of jobs; and 11% of tax revenues world-wide. ‘At the turn of the 21st century, tourism held a top place in the economy, the value of the trade being equivalent to 30% of oil products and 40% of food and agricultural products.5
According to the 2016 economic impact report of the World Travel and Tours Council, tourism added 7.2 million jobs to the global economy; contributing over $7.2 trillion to the world Gross Domestic Products. In spite of the current uncertainties in the global economy and specific challenges to tourism in 2015, the sector grew by 3.7% and contributed a total of 9.8% to the global G.D.P. Travel also supported a total of 294 million jobs in 2015: an increase of 7.2 million or one in 11 jobs. According to the economic impact report, countries where tourism most markedly outperformed the wider economy in 2015 include Iceland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Uganda.
Economic impact studies have also identified the entertainment industry which embraces the performance arts, the cinema and mass activities like sports in the USA, for example, as the most important aspects after Aerospace. Countries which have recognized the strategic importance of creative, copyright and the cultural industrial and have given them adequate attention are privileged both in cultural and economic terms today, while nations which have neglected them are confronted with the uneasy alternative of being overrun by foreign cultural products and contexts – which entail heavy royalty payments and sense of cultural identity under threat – or taking the protectionist route of closure6.
The role in the economy and the value as a development capital of the intellectual property industries represented by radio, television, digitalization, film production, the production of discs and video and the visual, performing and literary arts, have registered an important shift towards international networking (through co-productions, joint exhibitions, conferences and festivals) into the realm of foreign policy and international networking requiring full national backing and protection7. The success or failure of development efforts is thus determined by the way the following questions and concerns of development have been addressed:
- The cultural and socio-cultural factors that affect development,
- The cultural impact of social and economic development,
- The inter-relatedness of culture and the models of culture prescribed for us;
- The way cultural development, and not only economic condition, influences individual and collective well-being; and
- Culture itself as an important focus of development and international co-operation and a contributor to the economic, social and political well-being of the nation.
The cross-cutting link of culture to the performance and success of the other sectors makes it a factor, a dimension and an imperative for sustainability in project planning and implementation. The cultural dimension provides the rationale for many of the approaches which are considered best practice in development planning and execution. Some of its benefits are import substitution (or local content), the interface of traditional and modern knowledge of technology, a sound knowledge of local conditions and traditions that can be avoided or taken advantage of, the relevance of end-products to lifestyle; and skills acquisition, not in a vacuum, but in relation to cultural patterns, lifestyles and demands. There is need to conceive development efforts in such a way that actions correspond to the aspirations of communities, make use of their experience and know-how to avoid side effects and fallouts which can stultify the end-results of planning and development.
The cultural dimension constitutes the last and decisive aspect which must be taken into account when selecting, conceiving and implementing development projects, programmes and plans. An Environmental Impact Assessment (ElA) may be necessary as a prerequisite to project approval, as is at present the norm in Nigeria, but a Cultural Impact Assessment which is hardly given attention, ensures an understanding of what the driving forces of the community are as well as what beliefs, habits, traditions, prejudices and taboos may render difficult the implementation of projects. This has resulted many times, for instance, in the yoking together of cultural incompatibles in the creation of new local government councils; or the disregard of deep-rooted beliefs and taboos and land use traditions in the choice of project sites. Capacity building in the sector is targeted at quantitative and qualitative growth to make the sector’s production capacity self-sufficient and globally competitive and take advantage of cultural appeal, reach and influence.
Theatre, Entertainment and the Creative Arts
The National Theatre, between 1989 and 1990, provided the following figures in seating capacity for the entertainment (theatre, concerts, and cinema) industry:
- a main hall with 5,800 seating capacity which had two shows on Fridays, and 4 shows a day on each of Saturday and Sunday,
- a banquet hall which sat 1800 to 2500 people; an exhibition hall with a seating capacity for about 2,000 people, and
- two cinema halls each with a seating capacity of 650 persons.
At FESTAC, programmes and performances were beamed from it live to the world. FESTAC hosted 59 countries and some liberation movements. The National Theatre’s problem is it’s the air-conditioning system which, if over hauled, is bound to restore the theatre to its claim to of a foremost entertainment centre; and reposition culture to its position in the cultural industries as a centre of excellence in theatre and creative arts.
Socio-Economic Roles and Functions of Crafts
Crafts form a substantial part of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Because of the large number of Nigerians involved in their production, their economic viability has become an important consideration in Nigeria’s overall development, particularly in the search for viable alternatives to oil and a mono-lineal economy. Craft production in Nigeria belongs to the informal sector of the economy even though its different products have a way of growing into small-scale industries like fashion design, processing and manufacturing. Despite the pervasive presence of guilds in small-scale production involving about 60% of the population, the background of those involved (semi-illiterates, petty operators etc) has not allowed them develop into an economic empowerment of the lower classes of Nigerians.
Nigeria’s need is an inward-oriented endogenous, auto-centric development related more closely to the needs and the specific situation and resources of developing countries as defined solely by them and as it benefits the majority of their inhabitants. From the earliest times in Nigeria, craft had formed the backbone of local economic production. Unfortunately and despite the level of revenue injection into the GDP in the past four decades, it has had no visible profile in the formal sector. But given its historical antecedents and the success stories in many developing countries, perhaps a more purposeful handling of this commodity is overdue. This assessment relies on the strategies adopted by South Korea which have proved very successful.
Although Korea held only 1.6% share of the world market in ceramic export, its revenue was scaled as US$5billion. As at 1987, there were 3,7508 firms involved in manufacturing handicrafts such as brassware, glassware, jewellery, ceramics and porcelain. About 56% of Korea’s exported handicrafts comprised imitation jewellery, and shell products.
The uniqueness of Nigeria’s handicrafts makes them attractive and competitive in the global market, given the ‘authenticity’ and ‘museum integrity’ which can be transferred, for example, to jewellery design based on Nigeria’s famous art objects. To enhance the attraction and competitiveness of its handicrafts, Nigeria can also draw on the reputation of the craft traditions of Benin, Owo, Bida, Kano, Ishiagu, the Cross River area, for producing competitive handicrafts for export purpose. Efforts at export promotion should be without prejudice to the development of a domestic market and the transformation of wasting or under-utilized assets like bamboo, cane and wattle resources found all over the country. The following figures of global income from handicrafts are a pointer to the way out for Nigeria in a diversified economy.
Exports of Handicrafts by Country
Exports of Handicrafts by Item
|Shell products||. 5,394||5,782||5,545||6,387||10,349|
|Brass and Glass Ware||7,412||8,776||12,290||45,005||22,187|
Source: Korea Federation of Handcrafts
There are over five million Nigerians engaged in craftwork on part-time or full-time basis. Over fifty per cent of them are women. In Africa, about 10 to 15% of the populations are also engaged in craft production who spend long hours using what are often crude tools to earn a pittance. It has been proved over the years that the hand and the machine are not incompatible partners in craft production and that craft and design flow into each other – the question of artistic integrity being determined by aesthetics not the time and drudgery involved in the production process.
A developing nation like Nigeria in search of economic empowerment for its teeming population cannot ignore an area of production in which it can compete successfully with the developed countries. Its cultural imperative is to ensure a clear and precise definition of its cultural products and secure equal protection for all cultural products. Africa’s strength lies in the transformation of its crafts tradition through appropriate technology, a modern marketing strategy, regular training for upgrading craft skills and techniques as well as the introduction of new production lines.
The high concentration of exquisite and high quality products reflects Korea’s comparative advantage in foreign markets in terms of price and quality.’ The uniqueness of Nigeria’s handicrafts makes them as attractive as Korea’s in the global market, given the ‘authenticity’ and ‘museum integrity’ which can be transferred to many designs based on its famous art objects. What is required is for Nigeria to follow the paths taken by Korea to enhance the export attraction and the competitiveness of its handicraft, via:
– concentration on innovative items and mass production,
– adoption and establishment of a pattern registration system which calls for protection of the rights of the original design,
– support of the training of Nigerian manpower by foreign technicians and the financing of the establishment of material processing factories which ceramics makers, for instance, can use jointly,
– acquisition/accumulation of labour-intensive technology related to the production of target crafts; and
– promotion of high-grade, high-priced goods through the development of superior technology.
Efforts at export promotion should be without prejudice to the development of a domestic market and the transformation of wasting or underutilized assets like bamboo, cane and wattle resources found all over the country. Such efforts should be directed, for instance, to the production of cheap building materials- bricks, floor, roof and wall tiles etc. for the important issue of housing and shelter.
Music and Sound Recording
Brazil, Canada, USA, UK and France represent the varied characteristics of Africa’s music Diaspora. Their music industries are influenced to a large extent and dominated by artistes and music of Africa origin. Their industries also enjoy a strong symbiosis with the African continent via cross-cultural exportations, the impact of new technologies and intercultural exchange offered by cultural tourism (Concerts, festivals, etc.).
The 1993 music sales figures reveal a disappointing outcome of the efforts of Nigerian musicians for their entertainment industry. It is indeed pleasantly surprising that the 1993 figures for Nigeria may be far from the truth because the music industry in recent times has performed remarkably well some miracle despite the havoc of piracy. Nigeria’s radio and television stations now have over 60% of their busy music airtime devoted to music by Nigerian artists who also hold their head high in the African music industry. A well-structured, efficiently managed music industry is a sine qua non in a diversified Nigerian economy. According to the IFF1, the 1994 sales figures of the legitimate national and international sound recordings were distributed as follows:
– North America 35%
– Europe 34%
– Japan 17%
– Asia 6%
– Latin America 5%
– Australia 2%
– North Africa/Middle East, Turkey 1%
– Africa sub-Sahara 1%
1993 National Data and Legitimate World Sales Figures of Sound Recordings
|Brazil||Canada||USA||France||U.K.||Egypt||South Africa||Zimbabwe||Kenya||Cote d’Ivorie||Ghana||Nigeria|
|Retail Stale (USD)||390.3m||896.8m||9.833m||1,848.6m||1,976||14.6m||146.7m||7.0m||3.8m||6.8m||12.4m||27.2m|
Source: 1994 The Recording Industry in Numbers, IFPI. *Figure not available
The national data of legitimate sales or earnings were also reflected as follows:
Country Brazil Canada USA France UK Egypt
Population 156.3m 27.4m 255.0m 57.4m 57.9m 55.2m
Retail sales 390.3m 896.8m 9,833m 1,848.6m 1,976m 14.6m
Country S. Africa Zimbabwe Kenya Coted’Ivoire Ghana Nigeria Population 39.8m 10.6m 25.7m 12.9m 16.0m 115.7m
Retail Sales 146.7m 7.0m 3.8m 6.8m 12.4m 27.2m
The figures speak volumes as to the missed, ignored, neglected and potential opportunities of the music recording industries in Africa and Nigeria. In the 1996 report of the National Music Publishers Association, the royalty payments covering performances, reproductions and distribution for several countries were reflected as: USA ($1.246m), Japan ($922.20m), Germany ($ 875.07), and France ($643.66). The African figures were: South Africa ($22.44), Zimbabwe ($ 15m), and Egypt ($12m). There was no figure for Nigeria; but it is hoped that issues of royalties and collective societies will be an urgent concern for a diversified economy – as well as an efficient system not only for the administration but also the empowerment of copyright and allied matters.
It is important to note that the projects and industries treated in the foregoing are not exhaustive of alternatives to oil which culture could have provided for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. For culture to perform optimally, our modus vivendi must jettison the trend of staff recruitment which has politicized the civil service, replacing industry, integrity, dedication and professionalism with nepotism, ethnicity, corruption, lack of accountability and due process.
The issues of rationalization, merging and restructuring which are pending from many review exercises must be quickly resolved and dealt with for the revitalization of our systems and to give them and Nigerians a new lease of life. The change we need must never allow to reoccur, for instance, our experience in the past when greed, avarice and lack of accountability and due process of an individual transformed a craft shop that was revenue-generating and profit-making-after a change of guards and a change of the mode of craft purchase for resale- first diminished in craft sale, then became moribund before becoming comatose as a business concern and dying.
As disappointing as the loss of the crafts shop as a symbol of a successful national craft development programme has been the fate of an even older national treasure – the Nigeria Magazine, is more painful. Nigeria Magazine started in 1927 as The Nigerian Teacher; became a Cultural Magazine in 1933 and under Duckworth, Michael Growder and others Editors, a veritable source of great material on Nigeria’s culture and cultural development. Together with the Exhibition Centre, the Magazine Section (both of the Federal Information Service) became the nucleus of the Cultural Division (now Department) when it was established in 1971. In the past twenty five years, the magazine had gone through a vicarious existence: it has really suffered! Something urgent needs to be done to bring it back to life and a new modus operandi redesigned for it.
In concluding this paper, it is important to state that the programmes, projects and industries so far treated are not exhaustive of alternatives to oil which culture can provide for the resuscitation and diversification of Nigeria’s economy. The Niger Delta and the rain forests of Nigeria constitute a major source of timber for domestic use and for export. For the protection of the country’s biodiversity and natural heritage, a good strategy is the domestication of wood traditionally found wild (iroko, ebony, etc.). Raffia palm exploitation can be turned into an export industry capable of producing over 150 million gallons of alcohol annually without a headline news of fatalities from the consumption of kain-kain or akpeteshi – or illicit gin! The mangrove tree can be utilized in the chip-board factory and the pulp factory similar to what they have in Japan; and the production of adhesives, preservatives and tannin from cutch obtained from it for the Nigerian leather industry. Tannin is still imported into Nigeria even though its availability as raw material for the leather industry had been public knowledge from 1954. Revenue on a large scale can also be generated from the transformation of small-scale cottage industries like black soap production from cocoa pods and plantain inflorescence into export industries manufacturing organic health and toilet products.
Traditional Knowledge and Know-How as Development Assets
Whereas much of Africa’s rural populations are scattered and poor, they are invariably self-reliant. Their small-scale farmers are capable of making changes in their own interest which are potentially of benefit to society as a whole. Their craftsmen are quick in grafting innovative ideas onto their traditional techniques and skills and incorporating new materials and products in their repertory of knowledge. The significance of their achievements is that in spite of a high illiteracy rate and the fact that the knowledge-base on which their know-how is founded is ‘non-book’, ‘non-academic’ and is passed down and shared knowledge and values. It is capable of documentation and integration into the formal educational curricula and interface with modern scientific and technological practice.
This was responsible for the development of a local technology of palm oil processing, bone-setting and physiotherapy techniques and local processing technologies for alcohol and salt production. Among its other achievements are an architectural technology which produced impluviumed courtyards at Benin City, and the old palace at Akure (Ondo State) and Idumuje Ugboko (Delta State); the lost wax technique in brass casting that dates back to the 12th and 13th Century A.D., and has continued to incorporate modern innovations; and an iron-smelting technology that is about 26 centuries old and capable of new applications and adaptations.
A trans-disciplinary, inter-sectoral and multi-dimensional pilot project. For adapting indigenous iron-smelting technique for producing the proto-type of a mini iron mill capable of continuous production of 5 tons of iron an hour is waiting on the wings. It was a programme of UNESCO’s Iron Roads project for Africa involving the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos and the production of coal brickettes fuel from various Nigerian coal mines. There are about 200 founders in Nigeria all of them operating on scrap metal or imported pig iron. With the steep downturn in the economy, modern plant and transportation companies are turning to the local blacksmith for the production of spare parts. There is room, therefore, for the establishment of furnaces that can produce cast blanks for the subsequent forging by the local blacksmith.
- “Cultural industries for development in Africa: Dakar Plan of Action.” Final report of Experts on Cultural industries in Africa organized by OAU and UNESCO with the support of UNDP, ACI, and the EEC/ACP Cultural and Social Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. 20-24 January, 1992.
- “Culture, Tourism, Development: Crucial Issues for the 21st Century”. Round Table of Experts organized in Paris on 26 and 27 June, 1996. UNESCO/AIEST Annals of Tourism Research
- Lories Crawford: “Cultural Tourism: Trends, Challenges and Framework for Success”. Paper presented at a Symposium in Abuja. December 2000.
- “Culture, Tourism, Development: Crucial Issues for the 21st Century”. UNESCO/AIEST Annals of Tourism Research
- Lories Crawford: op. cit.
- Korea Trade and Business May 1987.
- The Metallurgical Research Unit for West Africa Sub-Region. Report by Frank Aig-Imoukhuede, Arts and Culture Consultant. August, 2001.
*** Being a Paper Presented at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism with the theme, “Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on 27-29 April, 2016