The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has restated his administration’s commitment to provide a conducive environment for the creative industry to thrive.
The Governor stated this in his address as the Special Guest at the launch of the UNESCO Report on African Fashion held on Thursday at Federal Palace Hotel Victoria Island, Lagos, adding that the State Government is intentional and committed to making the State a preferred tourism and creative destination.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the event by the Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said the State Government is committed to investing more in the creative industry through various programmes, initiatives and collaborations.
According to him, the present administration’s investments in the sector are yielding positive results, adding that on Wednesday the Lagos State Government graduated about 200 youths trained in Filmmaking through its collaboration with Gidi Creative Centre.
While pointing out that Lagos is unique in several ways from its iconic heritage sites, socio-economic activities and nightlife, Sanwo-Olu averred that his administration is ready to improve its collaboration with UNESCO since the goals of both bodies are the same.
The Minister of State for Education Dr. Yusuf Sununu in his welcome address said the launch of the report is the first of its kind and the fact that it coincides with fashion week shows its importance.
He opined that fashion is big business in Nigeria and the number of participants in the industry keeps increasing significantly daily, adding that the sector is not only about looking good but looking good in business.
The Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay remarked that she is happy and honoured to be in Lagos being acclaimed to be the most stylish city in the world.
According to her, fashion is currently valued at $15.5 billion worth of exports annually. The earnings from the continent’s fashion industry could triple over a decade with the right investment and infrastructure.
“In Nigeria and other parts of Africa, young fashion designers are hungry for success and are taking over the global stage”, Azoulay stated.
The UNESCO Director noted that a new breed of young designers is causing a stir in the international scene by reinventing the code of luxury while at the same time reconciling them with the demands of sustainable, local fashion and heritage.
On her part, the founder of Lagos Fashion Week believes that Africans want to wear Africa, and it’s beautiful to see because it has not always been like this.
The UNESCO Report highlights four challenges that must be tackled by the government and decision-makers to realise the potential of Africa’s fashion sector.
Also at the event was the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Oloruntoyin Atekoja amongst other dignitaries.