Until public and private sector collectively share in the funding of the visual art sub sector of the creative industry, there cannot be some form of growth and contribution to the entire economy.
This was reinforced recently at the fifth edition of Point of View (POV5) organised by Ben Enwonwu Foundation (BEF), in collaboration with the Society of Nigerian Artists. The event took place at Alliance Franchaise/ Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, and examined “Funding for the Visual Arts: Public and Private Sector Partnership” (PPSP).
High on the agenda was the Creative Industry Financial Initiative (CIFI), a collaboration between Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee which seeks to improve access to long term, low-cost financing for entrepreneurs and investors in the creative and information technology sectors in Nigeria.
The Director at Alliance Franchaise (AF agos), Charles Courdent, in his opening remarks, expressed joy at the creme d’ la creme who graced the occasion. He said that Alli- ance Franchaise was open for Nigerians and Europeans and to promote French language and culture.
Afterwards, Oliver Enwonwu, who di- rects affairs at BEF, welcomed the audience. He thanked the Board of Trustees and the supportive audience for sustaining the programme over the years, adding that, for the foundation, it was not about art as aesthetic value alone, but how art could shape the soci- ety positively.
The remaining one and half hours were presentations by key influence in the industry, and question-and-answer sessions. The first presenter in this segment was Uche Nwuka, Group Head, Creative Industry Bank of Industry Bank of Industry (BoI). While speaking on the theme: “Including the Visual Arts in the Promise of Creative Industry Growth: The CIFI and Other Financial Policies,” she highlighted the activities of the financial institution for over 60 years, adding, however, that it was not until 2011 that government confirmed the need to support the creative industry.
She noted that the creative industry’s performance since 2011 to date showed that, in the year the industry was established in the BoI, it started with content production, infra- structure and distribution. She hinted, “Interestingly, from 2011 till date, we have had approvals for over 102 projects, and we have disbursed 71 projects. We have presently over N56 billion disbursed in the industry.
She said that services offered by the bank were not limited to advisory, advocacy and financial support for long term businesses adding, “For the creative industry, we have two special funding windows: Collateralise and non-collateralise funding and the terms and conditions are 10 percent of all internal funds.”
Odunayo Sanya, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, MTN Nigeria, who spoke on the main topic, said that every human being had an artist in him, which explained why an engineer could recreate through imagination – a deep form of art.
“We recognise the power of transformation that the visual art carries. In Nigeria, we are a very young nation with about 70 percent of our population young people from 24 years downwards. So, they have a lot of pent up energy that, if we harness it properly, we can use it to transform our nation; and, art for me, can be an outlet for that,” she enthused.
On the benefits of funding arts to the public sector, she said, “The sector benefits from this, because it can channel youth energy. It is also a platform for civic engagement, that is, advocacy, as well as a form of entertainment; there are a whole lot of Nigerian histories that can be preserved if the public sector comes in partnership with the private sector to deliver solutions for the visual art.”
Yemisi Mokuolu CEO, Hatch Ideas World-wide, shared experiences of some of her works and research findings on the “Business of Art and Socioeconomic Transformation in Africa: The Hatch Ideas Case Study.” She paid special focus on “Finance for Creative and Cultural Industries in Africa (CCIs).” She equally paid attention on the need for value, training of investors, business support and successful policies to support the financing of CCIs in Africa.