Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Afreximbank launches new $1 billion film fund for African filmmakers.

by Thinus Ferreira

CAIRO, EGYPT - Afreximbank is starting a new $1 billion African film fund to support the continent's filmmakers.

At the 2023 Creative Africa Nexus (Canex) Summit taking place in Cairo, Egypt, Kanayo Awani, vice-president of Afreximbank's Intra-Africa Trade Bank, announced that the massive $1 billion investment would go to support filmmakers across the entire Africa.

The 2023 Canex Summit, an Afreximbank initiative, is taking place alongside the weeklong IATF 2023 which is Africa's largest trade and investment fair.

The Afreximbank film fund that will officially be launched in 2024 will be used for film financing, co-financing with large studios, and supporting projects of African filmmakers, producers and directors across the entire continent.

Afreximbank already has $600 million (R10.9 billion) invested in various film, music, fashion, arts and sports projects across Africa.

Referencing Africa's three biggest TV and film production markets in West, South and East Africa, she noted that "Afreximbank has several films in the pipeline from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya which should be on streaming platforms in 2024".

According to Awani, Africa's film and TV industry is held back by infrastructure and technology gaps, a lack of capacity and a shortage of skilled professionals, coupled with limited market access and international exposure - something that leads to Africa's creative and cultural products often struggling to gain exposure and access to international markets.

She said that Africa's film industry has the potential to create over 20 million jobs but is being held back due to limited access to financing, copyright infringement due to weak copyright laws and enforcement mechanisms, and a lack of awareness.

The Ghanaian actor Boris Kodjoe said Africa is still facing "branding challenges" due to an international perception about Africa, fuelled by traditional media, that the continent is poverty, famine and civil wars.

According to Kodjoe, "The world craves culturally specific global content with Africa as a key player in meeting that demand. With the continent's young population and high connectivity, studios, networks, promoters and brands are investing in solutions to reach diverse audiences".

By 2030, Africa is projected to produce up to 10% of global creative goods export worth roughly $200 billion (R3.6 trillion), or 4% of Africa's gross domestic product (GDP).

Albert M. Muchanga, commissioner for trade and industry of the African Union Commission, said that the creative sector in Africa was rapidly growing and making a significant contribution to the growth and sustainable development of African economies.

African creative industry has huge potential to be a source of employment and revenue to create the Africa we want – revenue from intra-African trade as well as revenue from the rest of the world."