A vibrant creative and cultural sector will generate employment for Africa’s youth, attract foreign exchange inflows, and stimulate other industries such as tourism, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has said.
Adesina said this in a speech delivered at the African Creative and Cultural Industries Summit, where he explained that Africa is experiencing an exceptional cultural revolution.
The AfDB President said for several years now, the African Development Bank has been in the forefront of the continent’s fashion and textile industries through which it promote increased access to finance, and help budding entrepreneurs gain traction.
He said, “At the African Development Bank, we are convinced that a vibrant creative and cultural sector will generate employment for Africa’s youth, attract foreign exchange inflows, and stimulate other industries such as tourism.
“The global fashion industry is expected to double in the next 10 years, generating up to $5trn annually. The combined apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa alone is estimated to be worth $31bn. This presents enormous prospects at various levels of the value chain, from design to production to marketing.
“Through our Fashionomics initiative, the African Development Bank has developed strong partnerships with leading industry players including tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
“Responding to our calls for more investment in the arts, in 2020 Afreximbank announced a $500m creative industry support facility.”
He said Nigeria’s Nollywood has grown in a relatively short period of time to become the largest center of film production in the world, after the United States and India.
The industry, he stated, accounted for $7.2bn (or 1.42%) of Nigeria’s GDP in 2016 and employs 300,000 people directly and more than one million indirectly.
“African film makers are making great strides commercializing their work. They connect with global audiences and continue to open up production and distribution partnerships with entertainment giants like Netflix,” he added.
In order to realize the potential of the sector, the AfDB Boss said the arts need more private sector investment.
He added, “It means there’s a massive opportunity for American companies to tap into fast-moving markets that speak to the countless young, urban, and connected Africans, including at least 1.6 million African immigrants in the United States.
“It’s an opportunity not to be missed. The African creative and cultural industries can no longer be ignored. So, let’s together set the scene for Africa’s success story.”