WINDHOEK-- Namibia is committing to the integration of the creative industry into the wider economy by hosting the 2018 Arts Summit of Southern Africa (ASSA) here this week.

The three-day summit opened in Windhoek on Tuesday and is being hosted by the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies.

It has brought together arts professionals and policy-makers from member nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as from Europe and Australia, to discuss how the creative economy can be harnessed to improve regional growth and prosperity and how it can become sustainable.

"By enhancing and promoting our creative industries within the SADC, we are creating opportunities for economic development in the global economy,' said the Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council of South Africa, Rosemary Mangope, during the opening of the summit Tuesday.

She added that mainstreaming knowledge and skills to school-goers at an early age would strengthen arts education and contribute to development of the creative economy.

NACN Chairperson Patrick Sam pointed out the significance of the summit, saying it creates an opportunity for the relationship between SADC and the creative economy to be strengthened. "As we aim to develop and grow through regional integration strategies, it is clear that creative industries must not be left behind," he added.