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Sunday, 2 June 2013

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech at Groove A wards: KICC Nairobi

I believe that there exists no higher form of music than Gospel music, because it is the highest form of prayer. Music permeates the spirit in ways that written words alone cannot do. It not only serves as a medium of preaching the gospel but also invigorates the worship experience and strengthens the life of believers. Congratulations to you all and may God Bless You.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I am delighted to join you tonight for what is also my first Groove Awards with Safaricom gala night. I take this early opportunity to congratulate all the nominees and winners of the 2013 Groove Awards.


I am aware that since the Groove Awards were launched in 2004, they have had a tremendous impact on the local gospel music scene. As a result, our gospel artistes now enjoy a higher profile at home and abroad. Indeed, the local gospel music scene is no longer an inferior art form, but a force in its own right.

Music unites us and inspires us. We turn to music when we are happy and we turn to music when we are sad. Indeed, as Africans, music is an integral part of our everyday lives and we have a song for every season and for every reason.

Moreover, music is a very effective and powerful medium of communication. Music facilitates communication which goes beyond words, enables meanings to be shared, and 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. Music permeates the spirit in ways that written words alone cannot do. It not only serves as a medium of preaching the gospel but also invigorates the worship experience and strengthens the life of believers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Beyond its intrinsic value, music is a multi-billion industry through which many talented people across the world make a decent living. I am encouraged to note that a vibrant and dynamic music industry has been gradually emerging in our country. Indeed, in the last decade or so, the Kenyan music industry, and particularly gospel music industry, has witnessed exponential growth and is in the process of transforming into a vibrant sector of our 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.

However, I am aware that more still needs to be done within this space if we are to achieve the levels of success realized by those societies that have embraced the arts more aggressively than we have done. That is why my Government has committed to ensuring that the arts are no longer a footnote in the Kenyan development agenda, but an important driver of our economic agenda.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Exactly 50 years ago, Kenya gained internal self- rule, setting herself firmly on the path to full independence. And as Kenya celebrates her Golden Jubilee later in the year, we as a people have a lot to reflect about. We have made some tremendous gains in the last 50 years but equally, we continue to face some major challenges.

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.

Indeed, the youth are a melting pot of innovative ideas and a source of restless energy which if tapped positively could help speed Kenya along the road to development. My 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.

For this reason, my 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. These measures include the construction of an ultramodern National Theatre with live Audio Visual links. We will also be seeking to consolidate licenses in order to make it easier for artists to perform across the country.

In addition to this, we 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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we embark on our plans as Government, let me point out that our doors are open to engage with the representatives from this and related industries on ways in which we can work together to catapult the entertainment sector into a multi-billion industry that will compete effectively with others in Africa and the rest of the world.

In conclusion, I wish to assure our musicians, and indeed other artists, that my Government is committed to supporting you to develop, exploit and benefit from your talents. In particular, we will address the problem of piracy which remains a key challenge in our music industry. 

I call upon 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. I call upon artists in the country to work closely with the relevant Government agencies to ensure copyright criminals are apprehended and prosecuted and to find progressive solutions to the challenges facing the field of music and the creative arts.

Thank you and God Bless you all.


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