MaiduguThe Executive Director/CEO, National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC), Mr. Mwajim Malgwi Maidugu has said that his organization has succeeded in re-awakening the consciousness of Nigerians on the abundant potentials in cultural industries that could be tapped and developed towards addressing the challenges of youth empowerment and wealth creation. 

Maidugu, who sated this at the opening ceremony of the 7th African Arts & Craft Expo (AFAC 2014) on Tuesday, 22nd July, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, noted that since AFAC Expo was initiated in 2008 by NCAC, the programme has succeeded in addressing the purpose for which it was created and also received global attention.

His words: “The African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC) has steadily expanded, and grown into an annual continental event that attracts participation not only from Africa but other countries of the world. It has become a platform at which the artistry, craftsmanship and entrepreneurial skills in the area of cultural industry are showcased, with a view to unveiling the investment opportunities and economic potentials that abound in the sector.”

According to him, because of the enormous gains, the event had recorded consistent increase in the number of participating African countries and beyond from nine (9) in 2008 to eighteen (18) in 2013, with over three hundred (300) NGOs and about twenty thousand (20,000) visitors to the exhibition.

On this year’s AFAC, the NCAC boss said that the theme, “African Arts and Craft: Tools for Economic Empowerment,” was carefully chosen with the aim of showcasing the best handicrafts and designs, including, interior décor, apparels, garments, embroidery, household utensils, jewelleries, leather designs, fibre crafts, ceramics and pottery, cuisines, traditional African music and dance, and so on.

He added that an Investment Forum had been included as part of this year’s activities, which, according to him, will take place on Wednesday, 23rd July, at the same venue, and that the forum was designed to stimulate intellectual insight and in-depth discourse on production techniques, standardization, quality control, packaging and marketing procedures, adding that there will be awards to distinguished participants in various categories, such as, Best Product Design, Best Pavilion Design, Best Participating States and Countries, amongst others.

While throwing his support for the programme, the Chairman, NCAC Governing Board, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, commended the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for his proactive posture towards surmounting some of the challenges facing the country, specifically, in the area of peace, security and infrastructure development, noting that AFAC was geared towards supporting the laudable efforts in properly positioning Nigeria as one of the fastest growing nations of the world.

Dignitaries at the occasion included the Chairman, House Committee on Culture & Tourism, Hon. Ben Nwankwo, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, the Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Dr. Munzali Dantata, Director-General, National Commission for Museums & Monuments (NCMM), Alhaji Yusuf Usman Abdallah, Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Alhaji Abdullahi Muku, Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Martin Adaji, Director of Culture, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation, Mr. George Ufot, among other directors in the Ministry.

Also present were High Commissioners and Ambassadors of many participating countries, including, Cameroon, Chad, China, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Philippines, Senegal, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Philemon Udeh

Corporate Affairs Unit