Okonjo-Iweala: Nigeria’s creative industry one of the biggest job creators for youths

Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated that Nigeria’s creative industry is one of the biggest job creators for youths in the country.

This was stated by Okonjo-Iweala on Monday at the virtual ‘Africa’s Recovery Talk Series, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Recall that the World Bank last week said the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose five-fold in the last 10 years.

In March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s unemployment rate climbed to 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020 from 27.1 percent recorded in the second quarter (Q2) 2020.

That automatically meant that a total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed during the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020.

Okonjo-Iweala lamented that Africa’s creative sector remains untapped.

She emphasised the importance of exporting African arts, theatre and entertainment to other continents, explaining that it would boost the economy.

“Our (African) arts, theatre and entertainment are beginning to be valued across the world. In my country, Nollywood, before we left the farm, was up to 1% of GDP. We should encourage exporting these across the continent because that will bring prosperity,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

“The creative arts industry is one of the biggest job creators we found in Nigeria for youth, particularly those also coming out of universities who are not employed. But we don’t value it enough ourselves, we don’t support it enough and if we want prosperity, I think we have to start thinking out of the box.

“I talked about manufacturing investments. Of course, we always think of adding value. But we forget these other aspects which would add to tourism, but also add to exports.”

Speaking on ways to drive prosperity in Africa, the WTO boss said solving the problem of vaccine inequity would go a long way in restoring the continent on a path of sustainable recovery.

She noted that lack of access to vaccines is hindering Africa’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to find a way to get adequate access to vaccines to our countries. And we couple that with trying to implement some more fiscal stimulus. But we have every little fiscal space to be able to do it,” Okonjo-Iweala added.

“Let’s just focus on getting vaccines in now. That is the first thing to get us back on a path of sustainable recovery.”


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