NAIROBI Kenya, June 2- 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.
While speaking at this year’s Groove Awards at Kenyatta International Conference Centre held on Saturday night, the president said he will be following keenly to ensure talents among the youths are developed so that the country can progress.
He assured them that 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,” he said.
“I know that if we give our young people the chance and opportunity, they have the capacity to make this nation great.”
The Head of State challenged the youth to take their rightful place in leadership, saying the Jubilee year is their opportunity to take Kenya forward.
He urged artists in the country to work closely with relevant government agencies in ensuring copyright criminals were apprehended and prosecuted.
Noting that music is a multi-billion industry through which many talented people across the world make a decent living, Kenyatta said he was encouraged that a vibrant and dynamic music industry has been gradually emerging in the country.
The President pointed out that the government’s doors were 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.
The Head of State expressed satisfaction that in the last decade the music industry in Kenya, 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,” he said.
The president also assured Kenyans that government has committed to ensuring that 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,” he noted.
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, 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,” he said.
Speaking during the occasion Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario emphasized on the need to support the youth in order to earn a living from their talents.
Wario said his ministry is working on ways to ensure the artists realise optimum returns for their efforts.