Mauritius: The Africa Consortium 2023, aiming to promote African arts and culture in Mauritius, was launched this morning in the presence of the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Soomilduth Bholah, at Laboudonnais Waterfront Hotel in Port-Louis.
The Director of the Academy of Design and Innovation (ADI), Dr Sabrina Ramsamy-Iranah, the Head of Creative Industries of the Economy Development Board, Nanda Narainen, and the Managing Director of ZeeArts Gallery Dubai-Mauritius, Zaahirah Muthy, were present.
The event is an initiative of, namely, the ADI, the ZeeArts Gallery, the National Computer Board, the African Leadership College, and the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture Trust Fund.
From 25 to 27 May, a series of activities will be held at Caudan Waterfront, including an exhibition showcasing fashion, jewellery, sculpture, modern painting and photography; an International Design conference; a fashion network showcase; an African creative village and a Festival ‘Fim Afrikin’.
In his address, Minister Bholah stated the event comes at an opportune time Africa Day is being celebrated. The Day, he said, is an occasion to reflect on solidarity and unity amongst African States so that we succeed in building the Africa that we want.
He observed that the contribution of Africa is significant because of its remarkable cultural diversity in terms of arts, fashion, music, and dance, amongst others.
This diversity, he remarked, can be further explored so as to tap into the creative potential, thus opening new avenues of business opportunities. Investing in creative industries, particularly in design and creative services as well as visual arts and crafts, can drive sustainable economic opportunities and improve livelihoods for local communities whilst expanding business opportunities for SMEs, underscored the Minister.
He stressed the need to eliminate the gap for creative skills development while adding that the creative industry in Africa requires considerable efforts to promote content creators, establish supportive infrastructure, and ease access to financing for the film, media, fashion, visual arts, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries.
Minister Bholah underlined that Government is fully engaged in promoting arts and culture and is doing its best to position Mauritius as a design hub.
He is hopeful that the Africa Consortium will establish itself as a strategic and transformative platform to showcase the resilience, talent and hard work of creative people and also enable the Government to create a conducive environment for our arts, culture and heritage to flourish.
As for Dr Ramsamy-Iranah, she underlined that artists and craftsmen had to adapt and come up with innovative ways to cope with the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in the creative sector.
This 2nd edition of the Africa Consortium, she stated, demonstrates the collective pursuit of African countries to promote development, cooperation and sustainable growth. It is a platform that will facilitate learning and training in the field of design and arts and enable networking among African countries, she added.