2023 WCID: Inspirational Calls To Grow Creativity Resonate Across Africa


On Friday, 21 April, World Creativity and Innovation Day(WCID) was celebrated globally. Although Nigeria was not at the forefront in this year’s celebration, activities to mark this special UN day in 2023 was handled with a higher level of seriousness in many countries across the continent.

Innotivity Institute based in South Africa championed the promotion of creativity within the continentand beyond,  by organizing events in South Africa, Nigeria, Ukraine, and the US.

WCID is a United Nations Day of Observance in its 23rd year. In most circles, it has grown into a full week-long celebration called World Creativity & Innovation Week (WCIW),

Both the day and week are created to promote the main goal behind the celebration of this day which is to encourage multidisciplinary thinking both at individual and group levels.

World Creativity and Innovation Day was founded on May 25, 2001, in Toronto, Canada. However, it came into existence after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to celebrate the day on April 27, 2017. The first World Creativity and Innovation Day was celebrated in 2018.

The UN-designated April 21 is to be celebrated as World Creativity and Innovation Day with an aim to educate people about the role of creativity and innovation in different aspects of human development.

Since there is no universal understanding of creativity, the concept is open to different interpretations in various fields like problem-solving in the context of social, economic, and sustainable development, artistic expression, and much more. According to the UN general assembly, creativity and culture not only create an economic value but also add a non-monetary value to lives. This eventually contributes to social development.

The Innotivity Institute kicked off its commemorations on the first day of WCIW with a thought leadership piece written by Michael Lee, the director of the Innotivity Institute and one of three African Advisory Board members of WCID.

In line with this year’s theme, Lee also gave a talk on The source of creative inspiration. in a Masterclass on Creative Enterprise for the entertainment and tech industries in Nigeria. The second,lecture of the Creativity and Innovation Week was hosted by the Krok Business School in Kiev, Ukraine.

Still in Nigeria, at a programme organized by Radio Nigeria, on the 2023 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme “step out and innovate,” a financial expert, Mr. Paddy Anyatonwu, advised in-coming Nigerian leaders at various levels of governance to create the enabling environment for citizens to harness their creative and innovative capabilities.

Anyatonwu said that Nigeria is blessed with many creative and innovative minds, who unfortunately do not have the opportunities to fully showcase their endowments.

The financial expert expressed regret that due to failure to create an enabling environment, many talented Nigerians in various fields of endeavour had left for Western countries where they had been making a lot of positive impacts.

Many writers state that Nigeria’s creative sector holds tremendous potential to unlock the country’s economy and provide increased employment opportunities for young people. The projections are promising – the sector is expected to be worth over 7billion US Dollars by 2023. 

Many commentators on the creative sector have continued to express optimism about the promise and prospects inherent in the sector. For instance, the country’s media and entertainment market is anticipated to be the fastest growing across the globe and the sector is said to be the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria after agriculture. However, the sector is plagued with myriads of challenges making it difficult to contemplate its full-prospects. 

The biggest challenge therefore is, how do we negotiate the accumulated challenges that have continued to bedevil the sector with the current opportunities that exist while also contemplating the future of the sector?

To make this happen, the creative sector will require substantial investments in skills development, prioritizingregulation, improve working conditions for women while also supporting the sector with funding and enabling a business environment that supports innovation. Investment in skills development through the inclusion of soft skills and digital skills into the curriculum presents an opportunity to solve the skills gap and reduce the backlog of analog reality. 

Writing a prosperity narrative for Nigeria’s creative sector will require that all these distortions be addressed. We clearly have to move forward and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being optimistic about the future. However, that optimism comes with a responsibility.  But, are we ready for the prosperity ahead?

A study conducted by Jobberman, a notable Nigerian career platform, said the creative sector employs 4.2 million people across five sectors of Media, Entertainment, Beauty, Lifestyle, Visual Arts, as well as Tourism and Hospitality.

Some of the industry experts who gathered recently in Abuja at a consultative session to review the proposed draft of the Nigeria Creative Industries Development Bill said Nigeria was not harvesting its full potential in the creative industry.

“It is the foreign companies that often come to speak to our potential in the creative industry. Amazon, Digital Satellite Television, DSTV all know our potential and the kind of market that we have. We need to tell our story and explore our market to its full potential,” a content producer and creative industry expert, Obi Asika said at the event.

Asika said that Nigeria can use its soft power in the creative industry to own the future, by creating a platform that offers the industry a global opportunity to thrive.

An Afrexim Bank senior official, Odi Akanuba, also posited  at the event that Nigeria was very important to the creative narrative of the African continent.

Akanuba observed, however, that funding gaps and relevant enabling laws must be in place to ensure Nigeria reaches the expected heights in the global creative industry.

“We must look at the financing model of South Korea, India, and China. We should see government as a willing partner, especially now we are drafting a bill to foster growth in the sector,” he said.

Another participant, Chika Chukwuka, an investment banker, suggested that an unorthodox financing model be adopted to expand wealth creation for the sector.

Chukwuka remarked that Nigeria can have a huge chunk of the $2.9 trillionglobal creative industry market share through proper planning and development of local infrastructure, and tax rebate for companies investing in the sector.

“We must  create access to funding through investment funds and grants. Tax incentives, rebates for companies investing in developing creative industry value chain, is key to grow the sector,” he said.

He noted that demand for content was growing globally, and urged stakeholders to work together in ensuring the bill becomes a reality.

A senior government official at the event and representative of the Minister of Information and Culture, Olusegun Runsewe, disclosed that a legal team would be set up soon to look at the draft bill

“We will do an official report to the Minister, but as the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), my position will be made known within the next seven days,” Runsewe said.

The Nigeria Creative Industries Development Bill, 2023 seeks to provide an enabling environment for the creative industry in Nigeria.

The objective is to provide a legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the development of a sustainable environment for the industry in Nigeria. This is expected to be in line with the provisions of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 2005 Convention of the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and Aspiration 5 of the African Union Agenda 2063, for an African with a strong cultural identity and common heritage.

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