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Stakeholders Brainstorm on Putting Anambra’s Creative Potentials and Investment Opportunities on Global Map, As Int’l Orgs Storm State

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The investment opportunities and creative innovation opportunities in Anambra State are set to be on the global ecosystem mapping, for easy access by potential investors, innovators, creatives, and the general public who intend to tap into any.

This formed part of the discussions at the Creative Innovation Ecosystem Consultative Value Chain Mapping Workshop that kicked off in Awka, the capital city of the State on Thursday, June 13.

The two-day workshop, which is scheduled to end on Friday, June 14, is organized by Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev), and has the Anambra State Government, the UK International Development, and the Nigerian Creative Ecosystem Growth and Innovation Initiative as partners, while the participants were drawn from both the private and public sectors, with the State Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, as a principal actor.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Mr. Immanuel Ovemeso Umukoro, a Senior Research and Policy Manager at Tech4Dev, explained that the organization is a non-profit social enterprise that creates access to decent work and opportunities for Africans through digital skills empowerment and advocacy, with a vision to equip Africans with digital and life skills that foster economic prosperity, financial freedom, and sustainable development.

According to him, the workshop is part of the organization’s mandate to ensure that, while they build the capacity side for people to be able to use technology and digital skills to better their lives, the right policies are also in place to enable businesses, investments and the creative sectors in general to thrive and excel within the technology space.

“That is why the event involves policymakers and stakeholders from both the government and the private sectors, so that we can identify the policy gaps that need to be bridged, to create more enabling environment for the booming of the creative sectors and businesses in general,” he said.

Mr. Umukoro further explained that their choice of Anambra State as one of the seven states in Nigeria where the pilot phase of the project will be carried out was well-thought, given that the state is revered to be a center and home for creativity, as one cannot talk about the creative sector in Nigeria without mentioning Anambra.

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He also described Anambra as a state that has given the world arrays of successful stars in the creative sector, a state that has many yet-to-be tapped investment opportunities and is ready to receive more investors; as well as a state whose government is ready for partnership to further prosper the various sectors of its economy and generally better the lives of its citizens.

Earlier declaring the event open, the State Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, Mr. Don Onyenji, commended the organization and its partners for selecting Anambra as one of the seven states (and the only state in south-east) to carry out the project, adding that the objective of the project aligns strategically with the vision of the Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led administration in the State.

He expressed optimism that the event would help create job opportunities, showcase the investment opportunities in the state to the world, preserve its rich cultural heritage, facilitate economic growth, and generally enhance the growth of the creative industry.

Commissioner Onyenji, while making reference to the Ministry’s brainchild, ANAWOOD (Anambra movie industry), also highlighted the various stars the state has so far produced in different creative sectors; hence, affirming that Anambra is truly the Light of the Nation, and, indeed, blessed, both creativity wise, culturally, intellectually, and otherwise.

He, however, said the Solution Government of of Prof. Soludo is not relenting, which is why it is exploring more partnership opportunities and still investing heavily in the creative, tourism and other sectors, as evidenced by the various projects, programs, policies and initiatives so far championed by the administration.

The Commissioner further reiterated that, with the Tech4Dev project, Anambra aims to become more visible on the global map as a state with abundant creative skills and investment opportunities, and also be more recognized as a premier and first choice investment destination for investors and tourists, both in the country and beyond.

In a keynote lecture, Research and Policy Lead at Tech4Dev, Victoria Oletu, who gave an overview of the key concepts and aspects of the project, explained that it will explore such industries as films and videos, music, fashion, content creation, examining what is on ground in those industries in the state, both in terms the practice, the potentials, the policies and the prospects. This, she said, is all aimed at expanding the industries and driving their contributions to the creative economy.

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According to her, thereafter, there will be development of an illustrative map of the creative innovation ecosystem, which is a multifaceted initiative aimed at capturing the diverse and dynamic landscape of creative innovation activities throughout the state. While noting that the map will showcase both strengths and opportunities, she further said the tracker will provide a visual representation of interconnected networks within the creative sectors of the State and also serve as a tracker, guide and valuable resource for policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs, looking to invest in, engage with or support the growth of the creative industries/sectors in the State.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen, a participant at the event and Special Adviser to the Governor on Entertainment, Leisure and Tourism, Hon. Sir Bob-Manuel Udokwu, described the initiative as commendable and impactful, expressing optimism that it will help in the collection and showcasing of the relevant realistic data about the creative industry of the State and its potentials, which, he said, will also go a long way to drive more investors into the state, help the Soludo-led government in planning and in realization of its vision for the state and the masses, among other potential benefits.

The event also featured a breakout session and roundabout discussion by the participants on Internal Assessment of Anambra State Creative Economy Policies, with focus on capacity building and talent development, infrastructure and technology, funding and incentives, and inter-MDA collaboration.

Also present at the first day of the event were representatives from concerned ministries and agencies of the government, including the State Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Tourism; Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youths Development; Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning; Solution Innovation District, and Anambra State ICT Agency, among others. A consultant, Mr. Marcel Manafa, was also present at the event, among some other stakeholders in the State.

 

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