At Mo Ibrahim governance forum, Osinbajo makes case for more investments in creative industry
With the right infrastructure, provision of credit and the necessary exposure, the creative industry in Africa would expand its space significantly, according to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
He spoke at the first session of 2023 Ibrahim Governance Weekend today in Nairobi, Kenya. The panel discussion was themed “Africa in the World: Multiple Assets.”
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, MIF, the organizer of the annual forum, was established in 2006 with a critical focus on the importance of governance and leadership for Africa.
Earlier at the opening session and also at the sideline interactions ahead of it, the Vice President received commendations both from the MIF founder and some of the speakers.
For instance, Mo Ibrahim whose chat with the VP ahead of the session attracted media attention, commended the VP for his leadership quality and for being an example to other African leaders.
According to him, “now we really need statesmen like you coming out of office to really go and save the society and do something for Africa.
“It will be wonderful because there’s life after office and you can have your voice … you say it as it is and then really give an example to all our leaders who handle different jobs. We can go and get things done and get the respect of the international community and you will do the best job.”
Later during the panel discussion, former President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka who also spoke on the panel said in reference to the VP “I think this gentleman has done an excellent job in his country. I don’t think we have seen the last of him,” to the applause of the audience which included global leaders and captains of industry in Africa.
While contributing to the discussion, Prof. Osinbajo said what government should do to support the expansion of the creative industry would be provision of credit to the young talents that make up the creative industry.
According to him, “the success of the creative industry in Africa is a phenomenon that many will say happened without much government involvement. So, I think that in many ways what is important is to see how the creative industry can be supported.
“Firstly, in entertainment, it is evident that there is a huge amount of talents and it’s evident also that the regulatory environment favours it because there are no impediments and one would say that as much as possible what we should seek to do is to see how how we can expand that space and to support with credit where that is possible and infrastructure that will be helpful.”
Giving example about one of such support to the industry, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “so for example, we in Nigeria do what we call our own National Theatre. They now have a few studios for films, entertainment and the extent to which that will support the industry has always shown tremendous promise.”
Applauding the growth of the industry and cautioning against excessive interference by governments, the VP noted that “things have changed in so many fundamental respects that there is greater independence of the artist and the creative people and they really function very effectively with little help.”
Only last month the Vice President launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE), a $600m credit facility that will support young Nigerians ranging from ages 15-35 who are entrepreneurs and involved in creative, innovative and technology-enabled ventures.
“I think it is now imperative to commence a coordinated approach towards innovation on the continent, bringing together all stakeholders to coordinate efforts at scaling up investments and building programmes that provide the right enabling environment and produce talent pipelines that support the growth of innovation on the continent,” Prof. Osinbajo said in his keynote address at the event.
Under i-DICE, constraints such as access to capital, and capacity limitation of Start-ups would be effectively addressed.
i-DICE is supported by funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB)-$170m, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)-N70m and the Agence Française de Développement-$116m. There is also Federal Government of Nigeria counterpart contribution of $45 million through the Bank of Industry loans for qualifying start-ups.
Further during the discussion, Prof. Osinbajo also spoke on the right education and vision to be given to young people to enhance their relevance.
According to him, there is need to have a clarity of vision on where Africa is headed in terms of education.
“It is really the privileged young people; I use the word privilege cautiously because these are young people with education – local education or education abroad, some have college degrees and all of that. But there is a huge rural population of young people who have no education and that demography have a large number of women.
“So, even understanding what sort of educational programmes we need to put in place and even the vision for that educational programme, you have to understand that we are dealing with several demographics.
“The final point is that we are in a new place where the world has changed so dramatically and particularly in the past ten years; where we have robotic, artificial intelligence. What sort of education makes sense to create job opportunities today?
“This is the time to think through the educational curriculum and to decide how this curriculum will be relevant and would deliver the sort of persons that we want to deliver and create the sort of opportunities that we require for the jobs that will be available,’’ he said.
Later the Vice President held a bilateral meeting with the British Minister of State for Development and Africa, Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP, where they discussed issues of mutual interest between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
The VP also held brief discussions today with the former Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok on the sidelines of the ongoing Ibrahim Governance Weekend, IGW.
On Friday evening the Vice President joined the Kenyan President William Ruto and other dignitaries attending the IGW to honour the latest Mo Ibrahim Laureate President, Mahamadou Issoufou, who was celebrated in person at the event graced by leaders from Africa and across the world. (Issoufou is the immediate past president of Niger who won the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. He is the sixth recipient of the prize, which recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership.)