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Africa’s creative market needs more structure

By The Africa Report
Posted on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 14:55, updated on Wednesday, 17 February 2021 13:36

Netflix app for films and TV on demand. (AP Photo/Dan Goodman)

Beyond the pastel-coloured attempts at seizing the African zeitgeist offered by Hollywood and Beyoncé, there is sizzling creative energy, and a ready market on the continent.

Netflix has fallen in love with Nigeria. It is not hard to see why. Nigeria’s film industry generated $7.2bn in 2016, while South Africa’s music industry should hit revenues of $170m in 2020. For a change, it cuts both ways. Apple Music is burrowing into Nigerians’ pockets, just as Naija Beats musicians are making millions from the US market.

“We need to showcase our African culture and history – this is the right time,” Blessing Amidu, a backer of Nigeria’s feature-length animated film Lady Buckit & The Motley Mopsters tells The Africa Report.

Beneath the blue-chips, as ever, things are much harder. Funding efforts remain bureaucratic and top-down, but they are arriving. In January 2020, Afreximbank announced a $500m credit facility to support cultural and creative products. Nairobi-based HEVA was Africa’s first fund dedicated to creative and cultural goods and services. It has invested in 40 businesses and directly supported over 8,000 creatives.

To really start to extract value from creative industries means having a structured network of support services. As investment advisor Aubrey Hruby says: “Much of this currently takes place through the informal economy, as the formal creative industry has long suffered from a lack of access to capital.”

Exceptions include Nigeria-based Creatrix Empire, which provides services such as branding and digital marketing, and Bookings Africa, a pan-African digital platform with access to models, make-up artists, influencers and more.

This article is available as part of the print edition of The Africa Report magazine: ‘Africa in 2021 – Who will be the winners and losers of the post-Covid era?’