Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), recently announced a funding package of $1 billion dedicated towards supporting Africa’s creative industries under the auspices of the CANEX program at the recently held Creative Africa Nexus Weekend (CANEX WKND), which brought together the largest gathering for the cultural and creative industries in Africa and the Diaspora in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
As part of its larger CANEX program, Afreximbank announced a $500 million facility in 2020 to help Africa’s creative and cultural sector. Through this facility, which is currently almost fully utilized, the bank has been able to greatly assist the industry.
According to Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, doubling the facility’s size to US$1 billion and implementing it over the following three years until 2025 will maintain and sustain the momentum and impact that the initial facility started.
“We hope that the experience we gained implementing the original facility will enable us to provide the industry with a more efficient solution that can grow your business further. We expect to use this facility to support our talented youth,” said Prof. Oramah. “The facility finances all activities in the creative and cultural industry value chain, from content production to distribution. It supports the development of infrastructure for content creation, product design, distribution, logistics, and acquisition of intellectual property. Creative and cultural activities covered include sports, fashion, music, movies, art, including performance art, media and technology.”
So far, the Bank’s culture and creative industry support facility has assisted film production, in some cases in partnership with Netflix. It has provided lines of credit to some African banks to support commercial creative activities. It is also supporting the production of garments, through the financing of factories and outlets. The pipeline of deals also includes support for the development of sports arenas and gaming technology commercialisation.
As part of its efforts to support Africa’s cultural and creative industries, Afreximbank has also set up a US$100 million venture capital fund to which the Bank will contribute US$25 million. And to address the lack of institutions on the continent that can support the commercialisation of African intellectual property rights, the Bank has formed and registered CANEX Creations Incorporated, an entity that will support the protection and commercialisation of African intellectual property rights.
“The days when African creatives intellectual property is taken advantage of by the rest of the world will soon be over, and we will see a new dawn of global creative brands emerging from the continent,” said the Prof Oramah. “CANEX Creations Incorporated will help generate intellectual property in the creative and cultural industry, ensure that they are legally protected, support the negotiation of the use and commercialization as well as distributing compensations when received. The vehicle will draw on the Venture Capital Fund to make strategic investments in the production and talent incubation, marketing and distribution of creative content on the continent,” he added.
Outlining the Bank’s ongoing work towards supporting the industry, President Oramah highlighted the “Afreximbank CANEX Presents Africa” initiative which enables African Designers to showcase their products at international fashion platforms, including the Portugal Fashion Week Runway show and in sales rooms at the Tranoï tradeshow at Paris Fashion Week, giving them access to global audiences, retail buyers, wholesalers, and global media.
Organised by Afreximbank in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, CANEX WKND brought together about 3 000 cultural and creative talent, as well as investors, industry leaders, government representatives, and the media from Africa and the Diaspora, at the Palais des Congrès of Hôtel Ivoire.
CANEX WKND is one of the major components of Afreximbank’s implementation of its CANEX Programme, a multidimensional initiative aimed at supporting and developing African cultural and creative industries.