The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to launch a $1-billion African Film Fund in 2024 to aid the continent’s film industry, according to KanayoAwani, Executive Vice President of Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB).
Addressing the opening of the 2023 CANEX Summit held as part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), Mrs. Awani said that the fund would oversee film financing, co-finance with large studios, finance African filmmakers and finance producers and directors of film projects across the continent.
She noted that during CANEX WKND 2022, the Bank increased financing for the creative sector from $500 million to $1 billion, with a pipeline of over $600 million in film, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports deals.
“The very first film we financed recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival,” Mrs. Awani said, adding, “the Bank has several in the pipeline from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya, which should be on streaming platforms in 2024.”
Africa’s film and audiovisual industries, contributing $5 billion to GDP and employing 5 million, face challenges like limited financing and copyright infringement due to weak laws and lack of awareness, Mrs Awani noted.
The African creative and cultural sector also faces challenges such as infrastructure and technology gaps, capacity shortages, skilled professionals shortages, and limited market access and international exposure.
Boris Kodjoe, a Ghanaian actor, highlighted how African creativity has influenced various aspects of modern life, including music, fashion, art, design, social consciousness, business, sports, film, and TV.
He emphasized that the West’s exploitation of black creativity has led to lasting effects, causing Africa to face branding challenges due to traditional media portrayals of poverty, famine, civil wars, and migration.
Mr. Kodjoe highlighted Africa’s role in meeting global content demand, citing its young population and high connectivity. According to him, Africa’s diverse films and TV shows performed better, and by 2030, Africa could produce 10% of global creative goods export.
Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, highlighted the rapid growth of the creative sector in Africa, contributing significantly to inclusive and sustainable economic development.
“I reaffirm my belief that the 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, ” he said.
Ambassador Muchanga urged African nations to harness their potential for tangible results and emphasize the importance of investing in protecting international property rights.
CANEX is an Afreximbank initiative to support Africa and the African Diaspora’s creative and cultural industries by providing financing and non-financing instruments to boost growth.