By Bukola Kayode
Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Mariam Katagum, on Monday declared open the inaugural edition of the Enjoy Nigeria Expo (ENEX 2021) describing it as veritable platform to sell the country’s bourgeoning creative industry.
The Enjoy Niger Expo currently holding at the Abuja Trade and Convention Centre between Monday December 6 to Sunday December 12 is organized by Welcome2Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Katagum explained in her welcome address that her ministry teamed up with the Welcome2Nigeria Project owing to the fact that the weeklong gathering will connect many players in the creative industry, the culture and tourism sector to the global market.
The ENEX 2021 has as its theme: “A Future Assured Through Cultural Creativity”.
“It is pertinent to note that the Nigerian economy, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has now been fully diversified from Oil and Gas with remarkable advances into sectors such as ICT, Creative Industry, Services and Agriculture.
“This Administration, is therefore purposely driven, in repositioning and building a more robust and resilient economy that is less dependent on the oil sector, by developing a more competitive non-oil sector; through the Expansion of Business Growth; and Stimulating Entrepreneurship and Industrialization. This is being done with due regard to the role of the private sector as major contributors to national income and principal job creators and employers of labour”, the minister said.
” As the exploits of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry has shown us, when Nigerians decide to pay attention to any particular sector, we excel in it beyond our dreams. For example, the Nigerian fashion industry, which is now a pacesetter on the African continent. A few days ago, we had the highly successful Arise Fashion Show 2021, as part of Dubai Expo’s Nigeria National Day events, which took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The show captivated the audience with the dynamic creativity and innovative styles of Nigerian fashion icons and pace setters.
“ENEX 2021 is therefore designed to draw the attention of stakeholders in our nation’s creative, cultural, entertainment and tourism sectors, with emphasis on women and youth, and the potentials of the sectors they operate in. This is expected to assist them to build capacity in their respective businesses, as well as show them the various ways that they can turn their simple arts and skills into high revenue earners”, she further said.
Earlier in his welcome address, President of Welcome2Nigeria and initiator of ENEX 2021, Mr. Isa Sago, said the expo ultimately will create thousands of jobs in the country’s creative industry as owners of businesses will not only sell their brands, but also learn much needed skills for the business side of their trades.
“We looked at the economic environment with the backdrop of globalization, Nigerian signing AfCFTA, the fact that countries have become woven together. Also, we found out that MSMEs in the entertainment, culture and tourism sector need a platform where they can come together and network. They need a platform that can help them maximize opportunities and learn how to do business in a globalized world.
“Also important to us is the fact that so much of our products from the creative industry are in the rural areas and only a few are seen. So, we felt that we should create a platform for these people and others to be seen and patronized by the world. We are talking about people in the music, film, performing arts and creative arts sectors.
“We equally recognized the fact that these groups don’t receive as much support from government, hence our trying to solve this problem by routing this intervention through government, so MSMEs owners can now get support and their businesses will thrive”, Sago said.
Also speaking at the event royal father for Expo, the Emir of Zaria, Alhaji Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli commended the organizers of ENEX 2021 for bringing together stakeholders from the states closer to relevant government agencies with the goal of selling the country’s culture and creative industry. The Emir was represented at the ceremony by the Makama Karami of Zaria, Alhaji Mohammad Abbas.
In her speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Ifeoma Anyanwutaku said the expo will help empower women and youths who are major players in the creative sector. She further described ENEX 2021 as having the potential of promoting unity and national integration.
ENEX 2021 continues with programmes such as ‘Taste of Nigeria’, ‘Images of Nigeria’, ‘Experience Nigeria’, ‘Sounds of Nigeria’ and ‘Colors of Nigeria’.