Don calls on African leaders to strive toward creating industrial economy



A university lecturer, Prof. Sati Fwatshak, has called on African leaders to strive toward creating an industrial economy to improve African image and contributions to global development.

Fwatshak, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Jos in Plateau, made the call on Tuesday at an international conference organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) and the University of Benin.

The theme of the conference held online was: “Sharing Black and African Creative Energy: Consolidating Africa’s Heritage and Identity in the 21st century.”

Fwatshak said that a formidable African industrial economy was needed to develop the cultural and creative industries alongside the developed countries.

He said that African creative industry must be upscaled toward producing technology-based products, which could be easily accessible globally.

The lecturer noted that this was necessary for Africa to acquire strong global economy and social identity.

“Africa must move to technology-based products, and not remain in cultural goods like earthen pots, beads, masks, hand-loomed aso-oke, kente, adire, or food products like yams, gaari, beans, and hope to have a strong global economic and social identity.

“Corruption, bad governance, crises, and criminality cannot grow African economies and identities; Africa needs a strong economic base founded on industrialisation, not crafts production.

“Managed by accountable, transparent leadership and followers, to change the inferiority and criminality mark placed on us and to earn respect and a positive identity.

“African people had been treated as criminals and inferior beings by non African governments, especially by racists.

“But, the solution to this is to change negative identity to a positive one through technology driven industrialisation,” he said.

Fwatshak noted that African products must transit from crafts and cultural commodities to secondary manufactures with cross-cultural appeal for global competitiveness.

“Japanese are known for Honda, Nissan, Toyota cars, various brands of laptops and technology-based products; China is known for various technology-based products including trucks, handsets and transistor radios.

“Germany is known for Mercedez Benz and Volkswagen cars, all products of technology; the United States is known for Ford and GMC cars, all technology products, Africans must also distinct themselves,” he said.

Also, Mr Abom Ibana-Esu, Chairman, CBAAC Governing Board, called for development of the untapped resources enrooted in African cultural heritage for sustainable growth and development.

Ibana-Esu said that Nigeria and the whole continent of Africa possessed the innate capability to achieve full potential in development, culture, peace and to establish flourishing, inclusive and prosperous societies.

“Our monuments are enough sources of social and economic transformation for the continent.

“The 21st century has been described as the century of rapid economic growth and development for Africa.

“With indices from world view in the last few years, we have every reason to be optimistic that African renaissance is definitely around the corner.

“It is very important for us to have a crucial and critical exploration into the components of our cultural heritage, and also harmonise our creative energy to conform to the dictates of the 21st century.

“There is a huge need for us to invest more in education, youths engagement in arts, crafts and designs, mechanised agriculture with improved data collation, accessible electricity, and developing infrastructure to foster trade and investment,” he said.

Also, Prof. Austin Asagba, Department of Arts, University of Benin, said if the cultural and creative industries were effectively harnessed and deployed, they would form the basis for national integration.

Asagba said this would also substantiate the consolidation of the existing national identity.

He noted that the quest to properly integrate the diverse ethnic and linguistic groups into one indivisible entity had constituted huge challenge to the past and present administrations.

Asagba urged African leaders to ensure full commitment to creative industry through the provision of adequate policies and creation of enabling environment for the industry to thrive.

“Nigeria’s cultural wealth and heritage are expansive, limitless and varies ranging from natural human resources, endowments to cultural and artistic expressions, institutions, various festival celebrations and religious traditions practiced across the country,” he said.

Earlier, Mrs Osaro Osayande, the Director, Overseeing the office of the Director-General of CBAAC, said that the conference was important at this stage of African development as the world continued to evolve at a fast pace.

Osayande said this was organised to properly harness Africa creative energy which were embedded in African literatures, arts, music, textiles, cuisines, movies and all to conform with the new digital age and technological advancement.

She said the African and black creative energy must be positively channelled and positioned to consolidate Africa’s heritage and identity in the 21st century.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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