THE creative industry plays a major role in fostering economic development, especially in terms of employment creation, Vice President Inonge Wina has said.
Ms Wina said a study on the role of the creative economy in Zambia conducted in December, 2013 revealed that there were about 95, 000 people employed in creative occupations.
Ms Wina said this on Friday evening during the arts exhibitions held at Fairview hotel under the theme “Building the bridges.”
She said people who were employed in creative occupation represented 2.5 per cent of the total working population of 3.9 million people.
Ms Wina explained that the design and creative service as well as the visual arts and craft collectively accounted for two thirds of the country’s population in employment.
“The visual and crafts domain had the highest proportion of self-employed people,” she said.
Ms Wina said in order to illustrate the importance attached to arts and culture, Government created the ministry of tourism and arts to promote the growth of the industry as it had become one of the major economic sectors.
She said the ministry of tourism and arts was responsible for providing a conducive policy and regulatory environment for arts and culture.
Ms Wina said the ministry had also a mandate to develop infrastructure such as public galleries to display artistical works, as a means of promoting, marketing and creating business opportunities to sell the products.
“Government in this regard, constructed an art gallery in Livingstone district which should be fully utilised by artists across the country to display and market their art pieces,” Ms Wina said.
Ms Wina said Government was developing other infrastructure to enhance the development of the creative industry countrywide.
She said the infrastructure would include cultural centres that provide venues for production workshops and space for exhibitions and display of artistic works.
“Government appreciates the efforts by the private owned galleries country-wide that also provide venues for our artists,” she said.
Ms Wina said the development of creative arts was not only the responsibility of the individual artists and Government alone but that the main market for the creative occupants was the general public and tourists.
She said one of the challenges of the sub-sector was improving productivity and efficiency, including finding new markets.
Ms Wina further urged the general public to continue supporting the artists and all Government efforts in this industry.
“The private sector should also play a role to promote programmes that will help the creative industry,” she said.