Diversity and Cultural Heritage; Great Potentials for Stimulating Economic Growth in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria. May 22nd, 2018 – Following the resolution adopted in December 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, recognizing the role of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was inaugurated and is celebrated annually on the 21st of May. Diversity is a valuable resource for attaining development goals, including fighting poverty and promoting gender equality, quality education and human rights, and must be fully integrated it into the global strategies for sustainable development.[1] 

Nigeria is blessed with diverse cultures and heritage and these affect the way Nigerians dress and socialize. The different ethnic groups have peculiar cultural enclaves which shape their dress patterns and this has been passed on from generations. This is mostly noticeable on Fridays and Sundays; also during ceremonies and festivities where most Nigerians appear on different indigenous designs of apparels and attires.  The love and acceptance of cultural diversity, if properly harnessed especially through the fashion and creative industry, can become a viable means of stimulating the economy; mainly through manufacturing and local demand. Also, as part of measures to uplift the nation’s culture and promote “Made-in-Nigeria textile products”. “The Federal Executive Council (FEC), in February, 2017, approved the adoption of Mondays and Wednesdays of every week as Made-in-Nigeria Dress Days.[2] 

In view of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, NOIPolls presents findings from a previous poll which assessed the opinions of Nigerians regarding the Made-in-Nigeria Dress days. Overall, the poll revealed that Nigerians love to showcase their native attires as a whopping majority (95 percent) of respondents said they wear attires and outfits made-in-Nigeria. Also the poll revealed that Nigerians are open to support native attire dress days in order to promote the Nigerian cultural heritage and national identity (33 percent); boost the economy (17 percent) by increasing patronage of locally made clothes (16 percent) amongst reasons.  In line with this, The United Nations Creative Economy Report 2013, co-published by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), confirmed that the creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world. Figures show that world trade in creative goods and services totaled a record $624 billion in 2011 and that it more than doubled from 2002 to 2011.[3] 

In other to ascertain the level of patronage of Made-in-Nigeria clothes, respondents to the survey were asked if they wear Made-in-Nigeria dresses. The survey result revealed that majority of Nigerians (95 percent) wear Made-in-Nigeria clothes and this is reflective of their love for culture and tradition. Analysis by geopolitical zone further revealed that South-West (98 percent) and South-East (97 percent) accounted for the zones with the highest percentage of those who wear Made-in-Nigeria.

The current pattern of dressing for white collar workers in Nigerian is mainly Western (suits, jackets and formal wears), Fridays which are dress down days, see a majority of people wearing their traditional attires woven in various patterns, colors and materials celebrating their heritage. Acculturation has led Nigeria to depend largely on exports thus funding external economies, but with this new dress-days policy which the people support as shown in the chart below with 83 percent, the country’s home-grown textile industry can be revamped thus boosting the economy and providing employment.

Upon further probing, it was revealed that the major reasons for supporting this policy to implement these dress- days were ‘‘it promotes our cultural heritage and national identity’’ (33 percent), ‘‘it will boost our economy’’ (17 percent) and ‘‘it will increase the patronage of locally made clothes’’ (16 percent) amongst other reasons. 

In conclusion, the results from this poll showed that a whopping majority (95 percent) of respondents said they wear attires and outfits made-in-Nigeria as it is a reflection of their heritage, culture and tradition as Nigerians.[4] Also majority of (83 percent) of Nigerians are open to the introduction of native attire dress days and the top reasons were; “it promotes our cultural heritage and national identity” (33 percent), “it will boost the economy” (17 percent), “it will increase the patronage of locally made clothes” (16 percent) amongst reasons.  While the Federal Executive Council FEC introduced Made-in-Nigeria Dress Days” as part of measures to uplift the nation’s culture and promote “Made-in-Nigeria textile products”, there is  need for an assessment on the adoption, implementation and impact of this measure across Nigeria in order to achieve its full aim. 

Finally, given the acceptance and love of Nigerians for cultural diversity especially through their support and promotion of “Made in Nigeria dress days”; the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development which was commemorated on the 21st of May calls for a deeper look into ways of harnessing the potentials of the fashion and creative industry. Nigeria is currently suffering a high unemployment rate of over 18[5] percent with estimates of over 7 million jobs lost in the last year alone[6]. Embracing its heritage and diversity by investing in home-grown industries like the food, text-tile, creative arts, manufacturing and entertainment will go a long way in drastically reducing unemployment and poverty rates, stimulate the economy and bring it to a healthy vibrancy and also foster peace and development. 

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. 

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking. 

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[1]http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-day-for-cultural-diversity-for-dialogue-and-development/

[2] http://dailypost.ng/2017/04/09/buhari-declares-mondays-wednesdays-made-nigeria-dress-day/

[3]http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-day-for-cultural-diversity-for-dialogue-and-development/

[4] http://www.noi-polls.com/root/index.php?pid=434&ptid=1&parentid=14

[5] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/12/nigerias-unemployment-rate-rises-14-2-18-8

[6] https://www.channelstv.com/2017/12/22/7-9-million-nigerians-became-unemployed-21months-nbs/