By Emmanuel Edukugho
In order to stimulate interest in Nigeria’s creative sector, grow its potential, boost the relatively low profile compared to other sectors of the economy, foster job creation, aid policy making, provide information on size, employment and other trends, the British Council has commissioned a mapping working group to begin a pilot study of selected key sub sectors which are fashion, film an music.
At the mapping of Lagos’ creative industries creative industries project launch/stakeholders meeting recently, Mr. David Higgs, Director, British Council Nigeria, in his welcome address, explained the actual and potential contributions of the creative industries to the economy, the larger role they are playing especially in the demography of youths and job creation. He paid tribute to the efforts of the Society for Nigerian Theatre Artistes (SONTA), Pan Atlantic University School of Media and Communications and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as partners in the project for strategies mainly from which members of the Mapping Working Group were drawn.
According to Higgs, study of the creative economy could provide insight, skill, knowledge, employment opportunity, revenue and other things available. Why map? It’s for data, awareness, profile, knowing the trends and to assist in decision making.
He said that in the United Kingdom, the creative industries contribute 6 per cent of the GDP. UK Mapping 2011 showed key fundings on the contribution to the economy, exports of services, employment and number of businesses,s adding that 10 per cent of Britain’s exports come from creative industries.
It was asserted that the creative sector has proven to be a viable contributor to the economic development of nations, especially with consideration to the immense export potentials of the sector. Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry) is recognized as the second largest film industry in the world and Nigerian music, after conquering Africa is now attracting growing interest across the world.
However, the activity within the industry, “the creative industry in Nigeria continues to maintain a relatively low profile and this is attributed to lack of verifiable data on the economic contribution, job creation and other macro economic indices of the sector,” said a British Council statement.
After a stakeholders forum in July 2011, it was unanimously agreed that an economic study (a mapping) of the Nigerian Creative Industry sector should be undertaken, and following a scoping methodology in 2012, fashion, film and music sub-sectors in Lagos were selected for a pilot study.
“The decisions were made in recognition of Lagos as one of the hubs of creative activity in these three sectors which are themselves vibrant and high profile sectors and which we are confident will provide data that make the case for further investment in the mapping process.”
To Ojoma Ochai, Assistant Country Director of British Council Nigeria, the mapping will be very advantageous to policy making.
“Evidence based decision making regarding the creative industries in Nigeria is key to its growth and we hope that by providing much needed data on key sub-sectors through the mapping exercise, we can start to identify scale, opportunity, trends and patterns that will allow responsible stakeholders make short and long term decisions that will impact the sector positively,” said Mrs. Ochai. Professor E.S. Dandaura, Head, Dept. of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, President of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Nigeria and immediate past President of SONTA, who coordinates the Mapping Working Group believed the mapping project will provide the needed empirical data that will “demonstrate the extent to which the Nigerian creative industries offer Nigeria a viable alternative to oil.”
On the reliability of the data collected, Dandaura said, “the data collection process for Lagos pilot will cover various sector clusters across Lagos. The establishment and household surveys will cover the core clusters of music, fashion and film industries in both the urban and semi-urban Lagos.”
The results of the mapping exercise will be announced during the 3rd edition of the British Council’s Creative Industries Expo.