Calls for Govt. and Private Sector Investment in Entertainment & Creative Industries in Sierra Leone

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    By Ibrahim Sorious Samura – August 1st 2019
    As calls for the intervention of government and the private sector to invest in the entertainment and creative industries gain momentum, Ambassador Bash sends a very strong and clear message to the public for immediate actions. Ambassador Mohamed Basiru Sanusi is a strong advocate who has been very vocal about the development of the creative industries, by calling on the attention of government and the private sector.

    Bash is a popular and one of the biggest TV and Radio Presenters in the country, who is currently employed at the Media One Centre (Star Radio and TV). He is also a youth activist and President of Circle-K. Ambassador Bash is a humble personality with a genuine heart to see growth in all aspects of life. He has immensely and effortlessly supported or promoted entertainment sector in his capacity.

    He has made it as part of his daily routine to educate members of the creative industries about policies that call for the development of the industries at every event he attends. His latest call came as a result of a message the Central Bank of Nigeria put out on its website (www.cbn.ng), which reads:

    “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Banker’s committee, has introduced the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI)  to improve access to long-term low-cost financing for entrepreneurs and investors in the Nigerian creative and information technology (IT) sub-sector, as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly among the youth.

    Entrepreneurs in fashion, music, movie production and information technology can now get long-term low-interest loans up to N500m (interest rate of 9% over a 3-10 year period), guaranteed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for their business. Designed to support entrepreneurs in the creative industry and stimulate economic growth,” CBN.

    There have been calls for the availability of start-up capitals or loans for entrepreneurs in the creative industries in Sierra Leone.

    “This is because Nigeria has realised that the bulk of their population are young people who are engaged in the creative arts,” said Bash.

    In an audio message broadcast to the public, Ambassador Bash reminded Sierra Leoneans especially entertainers about policies that talk about government’s promotion or development of entertainment, arts and culture. He mentioned instruments like: ‘Act No. 6 of 1991, Sierra Leone Constitution, Chapter II – Fundamental Principles of State Policy, which reads

    – Enhancement of national culture –

    Section 12. The Government shall—

    (a) promote Sierra Leonean culture such as music, art, dance, science, philosophy, education and traditional medicine which is compatible with national development;

    (b) recognize traditional Sierra Leonean institutions compatible with national development;

    (c) protect and enhance the cultures of Sierra Leone; and

    (d) facilitate the provision of funds for the development of culture in Sierra Leone.

    Further:
    Article 22 of the African Youth Charter (which Sierra Leone signed in 2006) talks about the promotion of Leisure, Sporting, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and mandates State parties signatory to the Charter to ensure the development of these sectors.

    According Bash, “This is a sector, if supported, can reduce the high rate of unemployment in Sierra Leone which is at 60%.”

    He also draws the attention of the public to the 2018 Manifesto of the current New Direction administration in Page 45 to support the sector. Bash continues to crave the indulgence of all Sierra Leoneans especially the government and the private sector to support the creative industries – movie, arts, fashion, music, dance, culture, science, comedy, etc.

    Bash highlighted some of the challenges the industry is facing, which include lack of structures, disunity among entertainers, politics and lack of business mentality.

    “If the Nigerians and other Africans are doing it, Sierra Leone is not an exception, we can do it,” Bash added.

    However, Bash recommended for members of the creative industries to prepare a policy that will promote the sector.

    He also advocated for Sierra Leone to have an entertainment television channel on major international television channels so we can sell our crafts internationally and compete with our counterparts. He went on to advocate for more endorsement deals/contracts between corporate institutions and our stars. Affordable and fast internet is also a challenge for most entertainers. Saying that our artists cannot master their craft or do business online without fast and affordable internet.

    He maintains that the creative arts can help rebrand and change our battered country’s image of war and Ebola internationally. “Other countries have used entertainment to rebrand their images internationally,” he said.

    “We want to see actions, we to see standard policies, we want to see structures, we want to see capacity building and training; we want to see funding.”

    This is a very strong and timely message from Mohamed Basiru Sanusi, which every well-meaning Sierra Leoneans must take with seriousness and the utmost urgency it deserve in order to develop this once defunct sector. All Sierra Leoneans, the government and the private sector must adhere to this call. Basiru has championed the course, let’s join him. It is a national call. Let us invest in the entertainment industry to boost employment and the economy.

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