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Gov’t engages stakeholders to revive cultural heritage

The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage is in the process of operationalizing the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act of 2016 to promote innovation and generate intellectual assets for the market place.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amb. Dr. Amina Mohammed said this would contribute to the developing of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources sub-sector as the new area of the country’s economy at the national, county and community levels.

Dr. Mohammed added that the ministry was also initiating the role out of indigenous knowledge documentation and digitalization as a pilot programme in 13 counties to establish community and county digital registers and a national digital register of indigenous knowledge associated assets.

“A 5.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from the indigenous products and we target to double this number as we will work hard after this discussion,” she said.

She added that the creative economy is valued at Sh255 trillion which accounts to about 30 million jobs.

“In April 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta provided Sh100 billion to cushion the cultural and the creative sector from the vagaries of the covid-19 pandemic. Through the programme we were able to support indigenous people, artists and musicians,” said Dr. Mohammed.

The CS said the Ministry is awake to the fact that there is a need to protect, preserve, and develop the country’s heritage and culture.

“This is why we put in place measures to protect intellectual property, genetic resources and traditional knowledge and to grow their prominence at the local, regional and international levels,” she added.

She said the utilization of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources will harness the social-economic potential of this sub-sector.

“On this note, I would like to recognize the definite strides that have been made by sister ministries and connected entities guided by the various international instruments such as the convection of biological diversity, the Nogoya protocol, UNESCO as well as various other regional agreements to create the required ecosystem that enable the creation of policies of legal and administrative frameworks as the critical foundation steps of Kenya Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) journey,” said the CS.

Dr. Mohammed was speaking during the opening of NBI ABS high- level forum on access and benefit sharing, arising on sustainable utilization of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources.

The CS said that the forum was a historical gathering, as for once the government has met with all the representatives of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources to protect and nurture the traditional product.

She said the government has seen the need to continue and nurture the traditional products so as it won’t lose a lot of value associated with the market.

“We want to work together and come up with policies that will enable the practitioner to know the value of these products so as to be used in the international market and bring in a lot of value. There are a lot of products out there but we have not benefited from them as a government,” she said.

CS tasked all the stakeholders that after the four days forum they should come up with strategies that they could validate and implement.

The forum which attracted participation of multiple high level officials of government and the local communities has put hopes high of the citizens who value the cultural heritage.

In attendance were Principal Secretary (PS) State Department of Culture and Heritage Josephta Mukobe, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman, Principal Secretary State Department of University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, private sector representative, international partners and industrialists.

PS Mukobe said the forum offers a unique opportunity for national discourse in enhancing national heritage.

She thanked all the representatives from academia and the business sector for the role they played in incubation to finalization of the high-level discussion.

CAS Health Dr. Aman said that he was pleased that the area has been highly elevated and embraced by the government.

By Chari Suche

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