Rwanda is using the 7th Pan-African Dance Festival to woo potential investors into its blossoming creative and performing arts industry.
As part of the ongoing FESPAD week, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) organised a one-day conference which brought together artistes and entrepreneurs from across the globe to discuss how creative industry can be strengthened through investment and also use it as a platform for economic development.
During the event held yesterday at Kigali Serena Hotel under the theme, “Strengthening the Pan African Creative Industries through Entrepreneurship”, Rwanda showcased opportunities open for investment in its creative industry such as entertainment, advertising and performing arts.
The Minister of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza, who officiated at the opening, noted that the government recognises the importance of creativity and the power it has on the economy, thus the need to empower it.
“The government wants to ensure that there is infrastructure to support creative industry especially performing arts. We want to have facilities in place such as theatres, cinemas and schools where these skills can be obtained,” Habineza told the press.
He noted that Rwanda is still experiencing huge skills gaps in the creative industry and that focus will be put on capacity building to ensure that the country’s creative industries match the ones in other countries.
Rwanda also wants to ensure that the industry takes advantage of the growing ICT investments, the Minister said.
Among other opportunities open for investment include television, advertising and branding, music and media production, performing arts and entertainment industry. Currently the country has only one television station.
According to John Gara, the CEO of RDB, the government wants to create an environment that enables people working under the creative industry to start-up businesses by providing them with the right information, skills, and tools that will enable them to do so.
A number of experts from around the globe made presentations on various topics relating to how song, dance, film, multi-media and theatre can be transformed into a nascent and competitive industry, and also take advantage of the economic benefits that come with it.
The objective is to find ways of enabling the Rwandan creative industry develop new ideas and apply them to produce original works of art and cultural products, functional creations, scientific inventions and technological innovations.
It also targets making Rwandan artists more creative, innovative and enterprising.
Despite its rich and diverse culture and traditions, Rwanda still lags behind in terms of competitiveness compared to its East African neighbours.