The Assistant Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture, Buti Billy, says the creative industry, through its value chain, can diversify the economy and create spillover jobs in the media (journalism), construction, transport, hospitality and tourism.
Minister Billy was responding to a question from the MP for Gaborone North, Mpho Balopi, about the health and prospects of the creative sector and what was there to help the creative its recovery after a stagnant two years of COVID-19 disruptions.
In particular, Balopi wanted to know if the minister was aware of the creative industry’s value chain, its potential to create jobs and if there was a plan to assist the sector to reach its potential.
Feedback from creative
“Programmes are ongoing to help the creative sector,” Billy answered. “We introduced the National Arts Council of Botswana that will hire its CEO soon (and) already have a Director of Research, creative strategy, a Director of Legal Affairs and a Director of Corporate Affairs. The Arts Council will be used as a platform to better the creative industry as it is going to promote and regulate the sector.”
The junior minister added that they have met the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) to identify available positions that can create employment and engaged with creatives for feedback on the initiatives being undertaken.
“The 2020 Dubai Expo and the Forbes Under 30 Summit helped our youths to gain exposure and those who participated will help grow the sector and employment will be created,” said Billy. “We have also changed the President’s Day Competitions into the National Arts Festival and staged a fashion show in Francistown to better the creative sector.”
Whereupon Balopi iterated his question, asking if the assistant minister was aware of the untapped value chain of other art disciplines outside music and the fine arts. In response Billy said they are currently buying content for NOW TV and contributing to the film industry’s value chain.
“That is why we created the Arts Council because we want to better the creative sector to hire masses,” he added. “This whole council will have 98 employees and they will be covering all the sectors of the creative industry.”