Ethiopia: Cultural Assets to Boost Up Economic Success

Tourism is one of the most viable growth options for countries through generating foreign currency, creating employment opportunities for citizens and improving the living standards of local communities. It is also a means to expand infrastructure and high level of innovation and creativity. Due to these and other rewards, hence, the industry is growing steadily around the world

Concurrent to this, promotion of cultural assets is becoming a major concern of countries to show uniqueness, increase competitiveness and grab the attention of tourists so as to boost up increase inflow.

The emergence of the concept of cultural industries in the 90s brought a good turn to view culture from the point of economic dimension worldwide. Since then, countries have committed to prove themselves as one of the best actors in the industries, and to make best use of the resources they have at hand. This similar experience has also been seen in Ethiopia to the point that the country got its cultural policies revised two years before, as to Yisma Tsige, Director of Cultural Industries Development and Cooperation at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MOCT).

According to him, the policy is formulated carefully in accordance with other relevant policies, the constitution and similar international agreements and conventions that Ethiopia has ratified,

As a result, the revision of the cultural policy could be taken as one of the measures that the nation has taken to transform the sector. Furthermore, the policy document shows explicitly the commitment of the government to eye a new way in order to achieve a new result.

He said: "Policy is a guideline and a prominent instrument to bring rational outcomes based on a system of principles. The success achieved to revise the previous cultural policy which aimed to better meet the order of the day per se is a great attainment. However, preparing a responsive policy alone cannot cure the ills that the sector has been suffering from without effective implementation."

Mention that the new policy is in its infancy stage, he said that however, so far various strategies depicted in the policy have come to be part of the plan and regular effort is underway along with Ministry's line institutions. For instance, the Ministry has attained remarkable result while undertaking activities with the Ministry of Education in the area of training professionals in the sector, he indicated.

Additionally, the nation has identified various cultural fields at the TVET level and the necessary groundwork activity has been put in place since the last few years. Therefore, qualified operators would take the lead and change the pattern of doing things in the field of craft, film, music, fashion, theatre and the like nation's cultural and traditional assets.

Ministry of Culture and Tourism has also been continuously providing short term trainings on different areas especially for handicraft producers to maximize their basic marketing skills and economic benefit, he added.

According to the Director, the film policy ratified in this year can also be viewed as another good manifestation of the desire of the country to redesign the fate of the sector in a strange way. Besides, various researches have been conducted in favor of the sector to keep the Ministry in touch with the contemporary knowledge which further impacts both to lead the sector and ensure its progression.

Aside from the socio and political benefits of culture, taking its economic supposition in to account, the nation has so far signed various bi and multi lateral agreements in the area of culture over the last decade. These agreements have benefited many citizens in the field of culture to access the outside world and enrich their professional tenure over the last years, he further elaborated.

He stressed: "As the cultural policy has a great concern to meet the need of the country and simply shows ways to make culture more useful in the social, political and economic milieus of the country, it leaves no room to violate and put the diversified nature of the country aside."

While the nation has an immense potential of cultural resources which have been able to cross for centuries seamlessly and colorfully across the board, however, the highly diversified cultural knowledge and products need a massive effort to make them an economic engine of the ongoing endeavor and bring them at the centre of the developmental agenda of the country. The cultural knowledge should be one of the pillars that support and boost the nation's economy, the Director stressed.

As the nature of tourism industry allows business to operate in remote areas that often lack a diversified economy, jobs in the industry decrease unemployment and provide money for capital investment and local and state tax revenues.

Therefore, a nation should optimally use its cultural resources and products in order to gain from the sector effectively. The possible economic benefits of the industry in attracting more innovation, job opportunity, high living standard, currency, and so on, should also be well considered at states and national level.

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