The Director General of the National Council for Arts and Craft (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has charged different nations of the world on exploring the economic benefits of hand crafts so as to capture the founding principles of the World Craft Council, which he said is mainly to foster economic development of crafts through crafts related activities in all its regions. Runsewe, who is also the President of the World Craft Council, African region, gave this charge during the recent event organised by NCAC to commemorate the World Handicraft Day in Abuja.
The World Crafts Council is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, which was found in 1964 to promote friendship, foster economic development through income generating craft related activities, organise art related exchange programmes and exhibitions, all tailored towards encouraging and advising craftsmen around the world.
Runsewe said that since his assumption of office as the president of the council in the African region that he has continued to work tirelessly in integrating key players in the arts and crafts sector towards promoting the best of African’s arts and craft products and popularising them all over the world. “Apart from robust and strategic engagement with foreign missions in Nigeria to create the required synergy beneficial to all, we have also led advocacy campaigns in South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Burkina Faso and so on,” he said while reiterating the need for government to increase its funding to the Arts and Crafts sector as very little capital is need-ed by practitioners for takeoff. According to him, “oil is good but exhaustible, while arts and crafts are inexhaustible.”
In the paper titled; ‘Economic importance of crafts,’ the keynote speaker, who is a former lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Dr. Cornel Agim, highlighted the economic value of arts and crafts to include creation of employment, creating new skills, building and amplifying the economic harmony through cultural exchanges as well as playing a major role in generating and sustaining a globally engaged economy. Other speakers who spoke at the event noted that most of the things that make people seek tourism to other countries are available in Nigeria, thus underscoring the need to promote domestic tourism.
Participants at the occasion were drawn from selected secondary schools within the FCT, stakeholders in the industry, media practitioners and members of the diplomatic community. The World Craft Council is organised into five regions, namely; Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America, North America and Africa. Guests were treated to a musical display by the Performing Arts Department of the National Council for Arts and Culture.