Could Africa Become the Next Home For Film?

In a report, the UN cultural organization ,UNESCO said that an estimated five million people currently work in Africa’s film industry, which contributes $5 billion to the continent’s GDP.

Africa’s film industry is thriving and is set to create millions of extra jobs according to the United Nations. Nigeria produces 2,500 movies a year but has fewer viewing screens than any other continent. The problem with Nigeria holding that success right now is not only the lack of screens to view but piracy, which is over 50% of the film industries revenue. With only one screen for every 787,402 people, the number of cinemas has doubled since 2015, but there still are very little locations. Only 19 African countries out of the 54 give any financial support to filmmakers. If all or even most of Africa came together as a whole, they could dominate the film industry! Africa needs the infrastructure and magnitude to market the creative talent it has.

Nollywood has been increasingly sought after by streaming services like Disney and Netflix, who obviously see the great potential in this gold mine industry. Nollywood has been estimated to generate between $500 million and $1 billion on a yearly basis in revenue. Nigerian movies recorded the biggest financing across the continent.

It has been said that a technology platform for gathering and distribution of high-quality Nigerian and African content is in the works, meaning Africa is planning big things.

Afreximbank, an African Export-Import Bank, had announced by it’s President, Prof Benedict Oramah, that they would be supporting a $500 million envelope for production and trade of African cultural and creative products over the next two years. Oramah believes that the creative economy is widely recognized and has a huge contribution to Africa’s economic growth.

“Creative industries can be potent vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies,” stated President Oramah.

Prof. Oramah even said that the African market has the lowest hanging fruit for African creative products but now with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in force, Africa will finally create a single market for creative products.

CAX WKND, The Creative Africa Exchange, is a marketplace for the creative and cultural industries. It facilitates investments into the industry through trading and provision of critical infrastructure for Africa. It is organized by Times Multimedia and sponsored by Afreximbank to bring together African creative talents in all things creative.

The financial crisis in Europe and the United States hurt a lot of small film companies over the past couple of years making them less reliable as sources of financing and African countries with non-existent film industries now having to find stability more locally. Initiatives such as the 2014 EAVE Lagos workshop helped local productions and the global film market by holding workshops around the world to create opportunities for emerging talent. The EAVE Workshop brings foreign experts to African soil in order to help African talent share their stories and can possibly bring African films to a wider international audience.

“Since Nigeria is one of the biggest film industries in the world, we were very curious,” said Roshanak Nedjad, the production tutor at the EAVE Lagos event. “We found Nigerian producers to be very well prepared, much more than their European equivalents. Nigerian producers do have a business; they have an audience, they know their audience and they want to serve (them).”

With the constant demand for entertainment not only in the African community, but Black community aswell, I only see this film industry continuing to grow. If infrastructure is all African filmmakers need to be successful, then it will definitely grow now that there is a plan in place.

The movie production world in Nigeria is ready for the next level. The direction of the trend is very clear; Africa’s movie industry will become a multi-billion dollar industry. Within the necessary fixes are gigantic opportunities for these filmmakers. The African movie market has proven to have worldwide appeal and the demand increases every day!

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