AFAC 2017 opens newer opportunities to grow Nigeria’s economy

AFAC 2017 opens newer opportunities to grow Nigeria’s economy
Kogi State cultural troupe performing at the 2017 AFAC, in Abuja, recently. INSET: some of the participating countries’ pavilion

African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC), organised by the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) has been acclaimed by foreign and domestic participants as the best in the history of the event.

The 2017 AFAC which was organised at a time Nigeria is deeply soaked in the moody waters of economic recession was a clear distinction of the power of culture in reuniting Nigerians through culture and strategising and repackage the Nigeria economic for a stable growth.

However this edition was another big statement in the history of arts and crafts exposition in Nigeria as it did not showcase the cultural ingenuity of the diverse natural and human talents but also open a new secret of exploring and developing newer area of generating revenue and creating sustainable employment for Nigerian youths.

The platform in it totality was a niche market where the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)  showcased the cultural might making one to see the comparative advantage each state have and how to practically explore, develop and make it a mainstay of the Nigeria economy.

One of excitements of the participant is also the face lift and beautification of the Arts and crafts Village which has been upgraded to an international standard with key facilities that made the event seamless for all sundry.

With Nigeria gradually coming out of recession, the AFAC expo and it offerings beckon on Federal, State and Local government to seriously invest in the diverse cultural potential to strengthen its present in the global  market.

With over 16 states and nine countries participating in the arts and crafts expo, most of the exhibitors are optimistic that AFAC is becoming an Africa arts and crafts hub to strategically position Africa to the world.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of AFAC, the Head of Service to the Federation, Mr Winifred……who spoke with high spirit of satisfaction for the well package said “AFAC, indeed is a testimony to the fact that the sector is seriously and strengthened for regional and zonal energy for the activating of ideas and expertise that could transform and bring a new breath in the arts and crafts sector in Nigeria.

“And above all, the skills acquisition programme which is held to equipping our women skills would help them to be self reliance in the society.” I commend the management and staff of the NCAC for this brilliant initiative and urged them not to rest on it oars in the task of taking art and culture in Nigeria to higher height.

“It is my sincere hope that the council will not only sustain this very impressive standard shown here today but also improve in the coming years.

I discovered that in the cause of my inspection, various artistic designs, fascinating works of art such as ceramics, painting, and woodwork, among others, dearly explain the ingenuity of Africa.

“I expected to see great partnership between craft men and women across nation frontiers as well as sub-regions within West Africa, it continent and international arena.

In his remarks, Senator Smart Adeyemi said “I will say that apart from football, perhaps, it is only art and culture that can be use to cement and promote the unity of a diverse nation like Nigeria.

“I think that now that we have challenge of speeches, the time has come for us to promote our culture. I believe that with the interwoven of art and culture, we can get our people more united.

“I believe our size is in our pride of diversity and you would not want to imagine Nigeria without the Igbo people, those from, Kano, Sokoto or Calabar. We can raise art and culture to cement our relationship and also use it create employment for the high level of unemployed youths across our nation.

Earlier in his welcome address, the  Director-General, NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewesaid this year’s AFAC stands out as clearly surpassing all the previous editions in that we have recorded tremendous improvement in infrastructural development and in content.

“It heart-warming that we had participation of 17 countries, 18 states, 94 local government areas and over 200 NGOs in this expo, in addition to schools and institutions of higher learning .

“We have also seen great improvements in terms of packaging, presentation and standard of products.

“A tour of the exhibition reveals the height of creativity and ingenuity of Africans, complemented by the presence of their professional colleagues from other parts of the world, including official of the World Crafty Council (WCC).

“ We are therefore confident that the event has set a new benchmark. AFAC has increased both domestic and international traffic in Abuja, in the number of days that it lasted.

The delegates from the state, local government, NGOs and higher institutions of learning are a significant domestic tourists arrival for Abuja while foreign countries and their over 250 exhibitors and official contributed greatly to international tourists inflow.

“I wish to specifically draw the attention of our guests to the staring revelation of the tremendous impact recorded at the skills acquisition segment of  AFAC 2017.

The council recorded over 560 trianees acquiring various skills like beeds making, cloth weaving, shoe-making, hairdo, make-up and gele, e-marketing, wate-to-wealth, among others.

Runsewe therefore appealed to government at all levels to support this initiative of the council by replicating it in all the states and local government areas of Nigeria.

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