MINISTER SEEKS STRONGER TIES WITH SUDAN IN AREAS OF CULTURE, DIGITAL ECONOMY
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for the strengthening of bilateral ties between Nigeria and Sudan in the areas of cultural/creative industry and digital economy in order to boost the efforts of the two countries to diversify their economies away from oil.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Tuesday when he received the Sudanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Bushra, on a courtesy visit to his office.
“Let’s take the opportunity to look at two areas where the two countries can work together. One is the area of creative and cultural industry; another is the area of digital economy. Today any country that does not see and recognize digital economy is like a man winking in the dark….. Today if you have an identity and a name and you have no digital identity it’s as if you do not exist. So we want to see how the two countries can cooperate in both the cultural/creative industry and also the digital economy,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed described cultural/creative industry as the economy of the future because of its huge potential to create wealth, generate employment, especially for the youth, and foster cooperation among the nations of the world.
“To me the economy of the future is the creative and cultural industry which does not come with the headache of oil. I can say this because my country and your country have suffered from the same problems related to oil production. On the contrary, when an economy is built on the creative and cultural industry, it engenders more understanding, breeds cooperation and friendship and at the same time brings in more money,” he said.
The Minister therefore stressed the need to expand the frontiers of economic cooperation beyond buying and selling of commodities and machinery to the broader aspect of creative and cultural exchanges for citizens’ empowerment and economic recovery, particularly among countries suffering from the crash in the price of crude oil.
“I think it’s about time we changed the concept of economic cooperation and stop restricting economic cooperation to just buying of oil and selling of machinery. We should look today at a broader interpretation and meaning of economic cooperation and I am talking about the cultural and creative industry. This is one area where Sudan and Nigeria can really improve their relations and at the same time make up for what is being seen as lack of economic cooperation,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed offered to partner with Sudan in the area of capacity building in the film industry, especially Kannywood where there are cultural similarities between the two countries, music as well as arts.
In his remarks, Ambassador Bushra said in spite of the geographical distance, the two countries enjoy a long history of kinship and blood relationship, saying there are about five million Nigerians currently residing in Sudan.
“I always cite a very good example which is a Sudanese Singer, Aisha Musa, In Sudan she is known as Aisha elFelelatiya. She was born from Nigerian parents in 1917 and she was one of the most famous singers in the music history of Sudan. There are many Sudanese of Nigerian origin. They are ministers, governors and businessmen and they are contributing with their brothers in building Sudan,” he said.
He said despite the historic relationship between Nigeria and Sudan, more needs to be done in the area of economic cooperation for the benefits of the two countries.
The Ambassador expressed his willingness, if invited, to bring a Sudanese Musical Group to participate in the 2016 Abuja Carnival.
SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture
Aug. 30th 2016