BY MONSURUDEEN OLOWOOPEJO
The convener of Africa’s largest cultural fusion, Culturati, Idris Aregbe, has said that the movement would continue to leverage on the continent’s rich culture to retain employment in the tourism sector and boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021 beyond projected limit.
Aregbe said that Culturati would be aggressively promoting tourism to ensure that Nigerians depending directly on the sector for survival retain their jobs in the New Year.
He stated that the sector which had previously contributed 5.1 percent to Nigeria’s GDP could aid the country’s economic growth beyond the 1.1 percent projected for 2021 by some experts if well harnessed and cultural potentials unleashed to address the country’s need.xhttps://6d1e39c13a2bf61755aa5d04b6eae3a7.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The convener gave this assurance at the 13th edition of the annual entertainment festival themed, “Unleashing African Potentials, which took place in grand style and attracted personalities including philanthropist Princess Toyin Kolade, and actresses, Toyin Abraham and Yvonne Jegede, and several others recently.
In his opening remarks, the convener, while describing culture as a veritable tool for nation-building, stressed the importance of exploring the enormous diversity in African culture, describing it as a fertile area awaiting more explorers to join Culturati in development of the sector.
“The latent economic potentials in African culture can be translated into a vehicle for creative expressions, value creation, and youth empowerment; Culturati is committed to breaking barriers and creating opportunities in African culture for the benefit of Africans”.
While pointing out that cultural tourism was one of the fastest-growing global markets, the tourism expert noted that culture and creative industries were increasingly becoming a tool to promote cultural destinations and enhance competitiveness.xhttps://6d1e39c13a2bf61755aa5d04b6eae3a7.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
With a very deep understanding of this, Culturati, he added: “has for thirteen years, been exploring Africa’s cultural diversity, promoting African arts and artists, growing local businesses and helping to turn the passion of young cultural enthusiasts into profit”.
Aside from that Culturati has become a viable economic tool, Aregbe disclosed that the movement has sustained the culture of motivating young and upcoming creative minds to ride on the back of their culture to achieve their dreams.
According to him, the vision of Culturati is to restore the pride of African culture, promote it as an agent for enhancing creativity, social cohesion and economic emancipation.”
Speaking further, the cultural enthusiast maintained that, “Culturati has sustainably projected and celebrated Africa’s unique cultural traditions on its annual platform via educative, informative and entertaining cultural programs in partnership with other stakeholders and the Lagos state government; thus augmenting governments’ effort at empowering creative youths while expanding and sustaining the creative industry.”
Idris added that “Culturati has been fostering the development of Africa’s tangible and intangible cultural assets, and has sustained the fusion of culture and tourism as major drivers of destination attractiveness,” thus echoing the vision of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on tourism, embedded in the event profile, as the new frontier for economic prosperity.
The highpoint of the event was the Special Recognition and Awards, where notable personalities that have impacted the African cultural space were duly recognized and awarded for their remarkable feats. Recipients on the night included Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sujimoto Construction Limited, Sijibomi Ogundele, founder of Nike Arts Gallery, Nike Okundaye, Yemi Alade, Swanky Jerry, Victor Afolabi, Pelu Awofeso, the founder of Tiannah Empire, Toyin Lawani, etc.
It would be recalled that Culturati began as Sisi Oge thirteen years ago. The Culturati brand has evolved into a pan-African cultural movement today, giving exposure to vendors, birthing business partnerships and cross-continent alliances, while celebrating Africa’s cultural heritage and fostering her unity through strategic networking.