The Minister made the pitch at the 11th Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (Investour), which was held on the sidelines of the ongoing International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday. He said the sector currently employs about 1 million people, directly and indirectly, and has the potential to employ millions more, with the much-needed investment.
''Nollywood, for example, is not just about entertainment. It is also a major driver of economic growth and job creation, especially for youths and women,'' Alhaji Mohammed said. ''With over 2,000 movies produced annually, the opportunities are immense for wealth and job creation.''
He said though the growth in the area of cinemas, for example, has been impressive, it is yet a tip of the iceberg. ''In 2014, Nigeria had just 23 cinemas, 100 screens and three digital platforms. By 2018-2019, the cinemas have grown to 51, the screens to 184 and the digital platforms to five. Now, this is just a tip of the iceberg, considering that 6,000 screens and 1,000 cinemas are required to serve the Nigerian population of about 200 million people,'' the Minister said.
He said the potential impact of such growth includes the creation of additional 1 million jobs and a GDP growth contribution of 3 to 5 per cent.
Alhaji Mohammed, who served as a panelist at the event, said the nation also boasts of a very vibrant and popular music industry which not only reflects her cultural richness, but has over the years translated into international recognition and acceptance.
''The Nigeria music revenue grew from about $36 million in 2014 to $53 million in 2018 and is projected to hit $86 million in 2021, making it the biggest in the region,'' he said, noting that a chunk of the figure comes from digital music consumption, an area of the market which significantly boosted the industry in Nigeria and paved the way for local artists to thrive.
In the area of fashion, the Minister put the earnings at over N4 trillion of Nigeria’s re-based GDP (National Bureau of Statistics, 2018), and described arts and crafts as another growing area of the Creative Industry.
He said with a rich food diversity, Nigeria could also leverage on gastronomy to grow its tourism and create job, especially for women who, he said, dominate the sector.
''It offers opportunities for communities to integrate tourism and local food systems in order to promote economic activities. Gastronomy tourism contributes positively to many levels of the tourism value chain, such as agriculture and local food manufacturing and provides a platform for the promotion of cultures through their cuisine,'' Alhaji Mohammed said.