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Afreximbank to Invest $1bn in Africa’s Film Industry

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  • Sanwo-Olu seeks funds to build Lagos film city

CEM REPORT, ENTERTAINMENT | Film and content creators in Africa will be receiving a pool fund of $1 billion from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in 2024.

African Film Fund as it will be called would oversee film financing, co-finance with large studios, finance African filmmakers and finance producers and directors of film projects across the continent.

According to Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President of Intra-African Trade Bank at Afreximbank, Africa’s creative industry is faced with several challenges with financing on top of the chart.

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Speaking at the 2023 CANEX Summit held as part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), she stated that the industry is also confronted with infrastructure and technology gaps, lack of capacity and shortage of skilled professionals and limited market access and international exposure, as a result of which African creative and cultural products often struggle to gain exposure and access to international markets.

Awani noted that during Creative Africa Nexus Weekend (CANEX WKND) 2022, the Bank had increased the financing it was making available to the creative sector from US$500 million to US$1 billion and that the Bank currently had a pipeline of over US$600 million in film, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports deal.

“The very first film we financed recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival,” Awani said, adding, “The Bank has several in the pipeline from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya, which should be on streaming platforms in 2024.”

The African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, also spoke during the event and noted that the continent’s creative industry was expanding quickly and significantly, contributing to the inclusive growth and long-term sustainability of African economies.

“I reaffirm that I think the African creative industry has enormous potential to be a source of employment and revenue to create the Africa we want—both from international and intra-African trade.”

Ambassador Muchanga emphasised the importance of investing in international property rights protection as she urged African countries to harness their immense potential into plans and programmes that produce real outcomes.

[READ ALSO] Creative Industry to Hit $100bn, Generate 2.7 million Jobs

Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is calling on private investors to invest over $1 billion in funding for capital projects including a film city in Lagos

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who made the call at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Morocco, said the film city in Epe would gulp about $400-500 million noting that it will include studios that will rival Hollywood,

He listed other projects to include the fourth mainland bridge, the second phase of the red and blue rail line, Lekki deep sea port and a new airport in Epe.

“We welcome investment in new areas of transport infrastructure, especially on the rail lines we are building to commute millions daily. The numbers are real, and it will speak to returns on investment. Additionally, we invite investment in our waterways, where significant backbone infrastructure has been delivered,” Sanwo-Olu added.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the sought investment in the state will be in naira to guide against foreign exchange risk.

“The investments will be priced in dollars initially but we are ultimately seeking investments in naira,” he said.

“Such a strategy will deepen our local currency and also help us de-risk foreign currency risks. So, if you want me to put some numbers to it, it could be a billion dollars or a trillion naira,” Sanwo-Olu said.

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