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President Uhuru Kenyatta promises artists ultramodern theatre with live audio visual links .

By PPS | June 2nd 2013


NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured musicians and other artists that his Government is committed to supporting them to develop, exploit and benefit from their talents.

The President said he will be following keenly to ensure the talents of the youth are developed so that country can progress.

“I know that if we give our young people the chance and opportunity, they have the capacity to make this nation great,” President Kenyatta said.

The President was speaking last evening when he presided over this year’s Groove Awards at Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

The Head of State challenged the youth to take their rightful place in leadership, saying this jubilee year is their opportunity to take Kenya forward.

President Kenyatta, at the same time, said the Government will address the problem of piracy which remains a key challenge in the country’s music industry.

“I direct the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture to step up measures to protect our musicians and other artists from copyright infringement which makes it difficult for them to make a living from their talents,” President Kenyatta said.

The President also urged artists in the country to work closely with relevant Government agencies in ensuring copyright criminals are apprehended and prosecuted.

He added that artists should join hands with the Government in finding progressive solutions to the challenges facing the field of music and the creative arts.

Noting that music is a multi-billion industry through which many talented people across the world make a decent living, President Kenyatta said he was encouraged that a vibrant and dynamic music industry has been gradually emerging in the country.

In this regard, the President pointed out that the Government’s doors are open to engage with the representatives from the music and related industries on ways to catapult the  entertainment sector into a multi-billion industry that will compete effectively with others in  Africa and the rest of the world.

He expressed satisfaction that in the last decade the Kenyan music industry, particularly the gospel music industry, has witnessed exponential growth and is in the process of transforming into a vibrant sector of the economy.

“Coupled with the investments made by individuals and companies involved in the industry, and the ripple effect it continues to have on other sectors, I believe the music industry has the potential to become one of the key sectors driving our economy.”

The President, however, said there was need for more work to be done to achieve the levels of success realized by countries that have embraced the arts more aggressively than Kenya.

He said that is why his Government has committed to ensuring that the arts are no longer a footnote in the Kenyan development agenda but an important driver of the country’s economic agenda.

To address unemployment among the youth, President Kenyatta said his Government will introduce a raft of measures that will support the growth of opportunities under arts, sports and culture starting from the 2013-2014 Financial Year.

The President singled out the construction of an ultramodern national theatre with live audio visual links and the consolidation of licenses in order to make it easier for artists to perform across the country.

“In particular, the issue of unemployment among the youth continues to be a thorn in the flesh for my Government. Our youth are more than half the population and we cannot hope to develop without the contribution and active involvement of this segment of our population,” the President said.

President Kenyatta emphasized that his Government recognises the arts, sports and culture as areas through which the youth can exploit their talent, achieve self-actualization, generate income and contribute to national development.

He observed that the youth are a melting pot of innovative ideas and a source of energy which if tapped positively could help speed Kenya along the road to development.

In addition to this, President Kenyatta said his Government will strive to ensure that artists in every county have access to the facilities they need to develop, harness and share their talents with the nation and the world.

“These initiatives will go in tandem with other pledges that the Government is in the process of putting in place including the allocation of a 2.5 per cent of the National Revenue to the Youth Enterprise Capital Fund,” President Kenyatta said.

Extolling the values of music, the President said apart from being an effective medium of communication, music also promotes the development and maintenance of group, cultural and national identities.

“At a personal level, I believe that there exists no higher form of music than Gospel music, because it is the highest form of prayer,” the President said.

Speaking during the occasion Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario emphasized that artists need to be supported in order to earn a living from their talents.

In this regard, Dr. Wario said his ministry is working on ways to ensure the artists realise optimum returns for their efforts.

He noted that occasions such as the Groove Awards are important as they contribute to the identification, nurturing and promotion of talents among the artists.

Other speakers included Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bob Collymore who thanked the President for his endless support to the country’s youth.



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