Kenya Kwanza frontman and the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party presidential candidate William Ruto has vowed to make significant investments in the creative industry should he clinch the presidency seat come August.
The creative sector encompasses the arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music and performing arts sub-sectors.
Speaking when he launched his manifesto at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday, the Deputy President noted that the creative sector is not living up to its full potential despite creating a myriad of opportunities that can allow Kenya to make the shift to emerging high-growth areas of the world economy.
According to DP Ruto, the sector could transform Kenya in terms of income generation since it creates both direct and indirect jobs for millions across the globe.
“The digital revolution, buttressed by Kenya’s good connectivity has opened up opportunities for this sector to be a significant economic actor in its own right,” said DP Ruto.
“Additionally, the creative industry can add value to Kenya’s exports such as fashion, leather products and craft industries among others. A visit to the now ubiquitous ’Maasai markets’ will demonstrate potential that requires only very little support to grow into a significant craft export industry.”
DP Ruto went on to say that once he assumes office, he will work in tandem with relevant stakeholders to expand the local creative space by investing in infrastructure such as theatres, music halls and art galleries.
“I will work with stakeholders to identify the incentives, capacity building and other support required from the State to scale up cultural production and the creative economy,” he said.
“I will also mainstream the creative economy in Brand Kenya and commercial diplomacy, including appointing accomplished Kenyan artists and creative sector personalities as cultural ambassadors.”
The Kenya Kwanza chief also intends to market the arts and crafts sectors both locally and abroad by unveiling an industry information portal that will capture the details of all registered creatives and some of their available works.
In matters film, DP Ruto has promised to ascent the Creative Economy Bill into law during his first 100 days in office, noting that this will spur the establishment of a film fund that will facilitate access to modern equipment and film production infrastructure that will be available for hiring by local film makers.
“I will review the Inter-County Licensing regime with a view of developing a single permit and establish a green channel immigration scheme and protocol service for international film makers,” he said.
“My government will also benchmark on competing film destinations for international film makers in Africa and offer comparable or better incentives.”
On matters music, DP Ruto wants to ensure that artists are able to turn their talents into business by leveraging on readily available resources, besides an artistes kitty that he says he will also introduce.
“My government will lead an awareness campaign on copyright laws and the enforcement mechanisms as a way of ensuring knowledge about the issue and increase earnings by artists,” he said.
“I also intend to streamline the benefits that accrue to the artists from the Skiza tunes and other revenue streams.”