The US government says it is working with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to eliminate barriers to the creative industry and help get the sector to a broader audience.
Ramin Toloui, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for business and economic affairs, stated this at a recent fireside chat moderated by Somachi Chris-Asoluka, TEF CEO, at Heirs Place, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He said while in South Africa, he watched the black book, Netflix, the most successful Nigerian film production that was in the top 10 English languages globally for five weeks.
“It is really a matter of bringing some of this creativity to a larger market, to the global market, because what’s being produced here in Africa, by African minds is something which has global traction that captures the imagination. And one thing that we in the US government are trying to do and I know that the foundation is trying to do is to lower the impediments, eliminate the barriers for that creativity to get a broader audience,” he said.
Toloui shared his personal career journey and discussed top issues impacting global economies and entrepreneurs around the world at a session that will be attended by young start-up founders including alumni of U.S. government exchange programmes as well as TEF program participants.
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He said he was excited about hearing the stories of individual entrepreneurs and the problems that they are working on, and how inspiring that can be.
“At the African Creative Market, I had the opportunity to talk to a number of the Nigerian creators and hear about the things that they were working on and also the collaborations that they were formulating with other African artists and also with artists in other countries.
Of course, some of the recent collaborations between Nigerian artists and American artists have been nominated for academy awards, and have received a lot of acclaim. So again, when you hear the stories and the individual, and the things that entrepreneurs here are working on, creators are working on, you just want to tell that story,” he added.
His advice for Nigerian creators was that they should ask for help and be persistent and hold on to their ideas.
“Never underestimate what young people are capable of. You can be constantly surprised by how much energy; how much passion and how much resilience young people are willing to invest in their ideas. So, really, I have two-part advice. First of all, learn from people who have more experience. There is always more to learn, and go and ask people for help. That is actually one thing that I have learned in my life.
“It is when you ask people for help, they then become interested in your success. They for one want to help, it feels good to help people.
Our host here, Tony Elumelu can attest to that,” Toloui advised.