12 & 13 September, 2023. Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen, Freetown.
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA ) has held a two-day National Symposium on developing a strategic plan for the creative and cultural industries in Sierra Leone on the theme: strength in diversity to foster social cohesion, peace and stability. The event which was driven by the Cultural Directorate of the Ministry brought together the finest and most experienced brains in the creative and cultural sectors.
The overall objective is to provide an equitable and inclusive strategy to enable the creative industries in Sierra Leone to become a major source of youth employment while serving as a catalyst for national cohesion and urban renewal as well as projecting a positive image of the country to the outside world and attracting tourists.
In his opening statements, the Permanent Secretary, Edward Kwame Yankson said the symposium will pave the way for peace, social cohesion and stability in Sierra Leone using the creatives. “The creative and cultural industries including music, art, literature, film, fashion and more represent the heartbeat of our nation, they are the vibrant threads that connect us all, transcending boundaries and reminding us of our shared values”, he noted.
Welcoming the participants, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Kadijatu Grace Kamara remarked that they were gathered with a shared purpose to celebrate the rich tapestry of art and culture that flows through the veins of Sierra Leone. She emphasized that the symposium serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting their artistic legacy and a platform for artists, scholars and enthusiasts alike to come together, exchange ideas and ignite the flame of inspiration that propel them forward.
In her keynote address, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nabeela Tunis intimated that the symposium provides practical and connected pathways to harness the deep potential that their creative and cultural industries offer. She was hearten to see a diverse and vibrant set of respectable leaders representing all shades of opinions and different component of this largely untapped potential to develop a strategy that is built on people, achievable and form on inclusive partnership on all levels.
She maintained that the development of the strategic plan resonates with President Bio desire in the People’s Manifesto that emphasized on the importance of promoting music and arts as a critical aspect of development and growth. “The importance of the symposium aims to develop a clear and implementable strategies to aggressively and consistently promote culture and tourism”, she stated. She concluded by recognizing the nations prominent and legendary figures in the creative and cultural industries while encouraging participants to make the most of the symposium.
The Director of Culture, Foday Jalloh did a presentation on the status of Sierra Leone creative and cultural industries while Dr. Julius Spencer centered his presentation around the ingredients for the creative and cultural industries to thrive, followed by participants group presentations on topics affecting the industries and ways to ameliorating them.
Closing the two-day session, Minister Tunis thanked every participants and those who joined via zoom for the hard work over the two days which she said will result in having a document that will help to enhance the creative and cultural industries.