By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Top Nigerian businessman, Mr Tony Elumelu, has provided about $100 million, through his Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help the creative industry in Nigeria.
On Wednesday, Mr Elumelu signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Information and Culture at the National Arts Theatre in Lagos.
The foundation, with the money, will provide structural support to encourage innovation, growth and productivity of Nigeria’s creative industries.
The deal is also expected to provide a framework for bringing creative industry stakeholders together with investors, financiers and business leaders to transform the creativity of industry entrepreneurs into a profitable sector capable of attracting international collaboration and contributing consistently to the national economy.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated that, “My Ministry recognises the urgent need to develop Nigeria’s creative industries and increase its contribution to the national economy.
“Nigeria currently has creative industries but no creative economy. This partnership will leverage the experience of the private sector to help the creative industries retain the commercial opportunity and the financial benefits.”
Earlier in his speech, Mr Elumelu, who doubles as the Chairman of Heirs Holdings and UBA Plc, disclosed said, “Without doubt, Nollywood is a global leader and our young musicians are emerging as international sensations with serious earning potential.
“Nigerians are good at starting creative businesses, but they lack the capacity to scale, proper business management and the investment necessary to become self-sustaining. This partnership will provide the framework for building business capacity and attracting sustainable investment.”
In her speech, CEO of the Foundation, Ms Parminder Vir, expressed her optimism at the future of the creative industry in Nigeria.
She said, “Nigeria has an abundance of creative excellence, talent and cultural IP in film, television, music, fashion, ICT, performing arts and this partnership is designed to support the growth of this sector for leading businesses, facilities, entrepreneurs and institutions engaged in the fast growing sector.”
It was gathered that In April 2016, Mr Mohammed approached Mr Elumelu asking him, “How can we work together to help transform the currently underdeveloped and unstructured creative industry ecosystem into an organized and profitable pool of creative industries that provide meaningful employment to thousands of Nigerians?”
For his love for the creative industry, Mr Elumelu ironed out how he can give support to the sector, which has contributed to the GDP of Nigeria. Hence, his decision to provide a grant of $100 million.
Present at the ceremony were industry heavyweights like Mrs Joke Silva, Mr Zeb Ejiro, Mr Obi Asika, Ali Baba, D’Banj, Chioma Ude, Nimi Akinkugbe, Mr Ralph Nwadike, Mr Audu Maikori, Princess Dolapo Oni Sijuwade and more.