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FG Seeks Cultural, Digital Economy Ties With Sudan


ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Federal Government (FG) has sought for strong bilateral ties between Nigeria and Sudan in the areas of cultural/creative industry and digital economy, so as to boost the duo efforts in diversifying their economies away from oil.

Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the call in Abuja Tuesday when he received the Sudanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Bushra, who was 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.

The Minister 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 stressed.

The Minister also 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.

Visiting Ambassador Bushra replied that in spite of the geographical distance, the two countries enjoy a long history of kinship and blood relationship, confirming that there were 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,” the Diplomat added.

He said despite the historic relationship between Nigeria and Sudan, more still 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.

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