Tourism stakeholders and entrepreneurs have lauded the Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Mrs Sally Mbanefo, for signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Cote d’Ivoire Tourism Board to boost and develop domestic tourism across the African region.
This was made known during Cote D’Ivoire’s Economic Forum in Lagos State.
Speaking at the event, Mbanefo said the country needs to improve its production capacity and must invest in labour intensive sectors like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, adding that it is the only way to create jobs for small and medium scale entrepreneurs, youth and women.
‘We have also been holding talks with the Ghana tourism board, as well as the South African board. Two years ago, we signed an MoU with the Gambia Tourism Board. As soon as we signed it, the first batch of my staff were approved for training and best practice exchange. We will not stop until we achieve a West African Tourism Brand, so that when a tourist begins his trip in one African country they can conclude it in Nigeria in order to get a holistic approach to tourism in West Africa,’’ she said.
The director general called on other African countries that have best practices for cocoa production, textile and fashion industries to collaborate with Nigeria to create jobs for youths. She explained that if the manufacturing and agricultural industries are reawakened, tourism would contribute to job creation.
Mbanefo said there is need to encourage mechanised farming and industrialisation. ‘‘I am happy that associations like the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, whom I worked very closely with when I was in Lafarge Cement are here. The fashion industry would also empower youths with skilled labour and grow small and medium scale enterprises.’’
According to the NTDC director-general, the corporation has been collaborating with the Cote D’Ivoire Tourism Board for the past three years, adding that the MoU will unite us and help to achieve the ECOWAS Tourism Brand Regional Alliance which NTDC has been working on with other African countries.
She added that NTDC is the apex tourism promotion and marketing agency in Nigeria with the responsibility to market and promote beautiful products from Nigeria like cultural festivals, arts, Nollywood, musicians and numerous eco-tourism products and link it up to the rest of Africa.
In her remarks, Ambassador of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire to Nigeria, Mrs Toures, expressed appreciation to the participants for honouring her invitation. “We will co-operate and partner with Nigeria in many areas such as tourism, textiles, telecommunication, power, health and education.’’
Toures also noted that the forum is a platform for Cote D’Ivoire to form an alliance with Nigeria to enable the two countries explore new fields of cooperation and also reduce poverty in Africa.
Nigeria receives Nok Terracotta from France
Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has received a Nok terracotta artifact which was illegally exported from Nigeria and was intercepted in France on transit from Togo to the United States about eight years ago from the French Ambassador, Denys Gauer.
The presentation was done by the French ambassador to Nigeria at a ceremony marking the 2016 International Museum Day in Abuja.
According to a statement signed by his media assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister thanked the French Government for demonstrating the will to fight illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts, adding that their support in ensuring that such items are repatriated portrays them as a role model and called on other countries to follow its good example.
The minister re-emphasized the determination of the federal government to raise culture and tourism to the mainstream of the economy in its quest to diversify the economy, create wealth and generate employment.
Speaking on the theme of the 2016 International Museum Day, ‘Museums and Cultural Landscapes,’ he explained that the federal government places high premium on the development of the nation’s cultural sites and their utilisation as veritable tourism products.
“We are positive that in our quest for the diversification of our economic base, this section will provide the needed instrument to actualise that goal,” the minister said.
In his remarks, the French ambassador said the presentation of the Nok terracotta was within the framework of the 1970 UNESCO Convention aimed at preventing the illicit import and export of cultural property which was ratified by France and Nigeria.
He said the gesture was an illustration of the French policy to fight illegal trade in cultural goods, adding that the artifact was intercepted in France as it was being taken to the United States on October 22, 2008.
Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 B.C. and later vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD. It is the earliest producer of life-sized terracotta in sub-Saharan Africa.

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