The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has disclosed the plan of the federal Government to support and make Nigerian art and crafts industry the biggest in Africa.

Stating this at the official opening ceremony of the 4th edition of the African Arts and Crafts (AFAC) expo at the old Parade Ground, Area 10 Garki, Abuja, President Jonathan, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of State for the FCT, Navy Capt. Omoniyi Caleb Olubolade (rtd), said his administration will explore the huge potentials, which these nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage represent.

Describing the AFAC Expo initiative as an effective platform that will create the much required consciousness for the creative industry, President Jonathan noted that the expo has the capacity to become the biggest cultural industry that will not only market Nigerian products, but also create an avenue to nurture and promote the nation’s indigenous cultures and innovations of the African region at large.

In this regard, he said that he will make the country to reposition the art and crafts industry as a viable aspect of the economy, because the products of art and crafts are good investment opportunities that the nation is yet to meaningfully explore.

The President added: “It is my hope that the expo will reawaken the past glamour, glory and dignity of the crafts industry and transform it into a significant contributor to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. I have no doubt that this expo will facilitate the sharing of ideas and create a regional market that will be an avenue for promoting the socio-economic integration of ECOWAS as well as the African continent at large. In this regard I challenge the art and crafts industry practitioners to strive towards acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge needed to enhance the production of goods that will compete favourably in the global market if the nation is to tap from the envisaged benefits from the industry.”

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of NCAC, Mr. M.M. Maidugu, disclosed that the AFAC Expo is one of the viable programmes the Council has initiated towards supporting the efforts of the current administration in generating revenue. According to him, AFAC seeks to explore, develop, market and leverage the nation’s rich and diverse crafts industry, with a view to effectively responding to governments efforts at job creation, youth empowerment, and rural economic transformation.

The event, which took place on Friday, May 20, 2011, had in attendance the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, who was represented by the Director of Tourism in the Ministry, Mrs. Sola Olumeko, Chairman, Governing Board, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Executive Director, NCAC, Mr. Mwajim Malgwi Maidugu, the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Artistic Director of the National Troupe, Mr. Martins Adaji, members of diplomatic corps, technocrats, directors of arts councils from various states of the federation, exhibitors from many African countries, stakeholders in the culture sector, etc.  The Expo, with the theme, “Promoting Crafts Industry for Economic Transformation,” is expected to close on May 31, 2011.


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