In Europe, the Renaissance in the 15th to 16th centuries witnessed an extraordinary revival of ideas and achievements, particularly evident in the arts. Today, Africa stands at similar crossroads and we must seize this opportunity to invest in our future.
With abundant human capital and natural resources to reimagine our economic growth, we can create a revitalised art culture that broadens our horizons. Through dedicated investment to grow and support infrastructure, training, and education in the arts, we can catalyse the reinvention of the African economy and global leaders in the creative industries.
We must create and foster a more sustainable and thriving art sector, which will benefit artists and cultural institutions and also contribute to economic growth, cultural tourism and foster an appreciation of Africa’s creative contributions to the world.
In recent years I have seen how Africa’s most prominent contemporary artists, and the international profile of emerging African and Malagasy artists has benefitted from the growing cultural infrastructure of the continent.
We need to ensure that more and greater targeted investment, and financial and practical support is in place both to directly benefit artists’ careers and to contribute to wider cultural and economic growth. By driving a more widespread appreciation of African art we can foster an environment conducive to the blossoming of artists, their art, and venues for public interaction with art.
Museums, galleries, and other physical locations for art matter so much because they act as hubs to inspire artists and empower them with the right tools to create next-generation art and spur Africa’s development.
Art is not just visually attractive and a vital means for the transmission of ideas, it is also economically beneficial to millions, contributing billions to our economic development. Museums offer a vital platform for artists to showcase their work to a wide audience, obtain recognition, invite commercial opportunities and act as custodians of cultural heritage. Art extends beyond the confines of museum walls, making its impact felt throughout society.
For instance, Nollywood, Nigeria’s answer to Hollywood, is poised to become one of the country’s greatest exports, with an annual growth rate of 19.3% from 2018 to 2023, currently contributing 1.42% to the national GDP. Similarly, in South Africa, the creative industry accounts for 3.6% of employment, attracting further jobs, investments, and tourism. Investing more in our arts is far from a waste; it represents a venture that offers a multitude of economic and social benefits to millions of people. Read more