Africa’s Export-Import Bank will launch a $1 billion African Film Fund (AFFF) in 2024 to support Africa’s fast-growing film sector. This was disclosed by the bank’s EVP, Intra-Africa Trade Bank, Kanayo Awani at the Canex 2023 Summit, which kicked off Friday in Cairo.
The funding would include, but is not limited to, managing film funding, co-financing with major studios, supporting African filmmakers, and supporting producers and directors working on film projects across Africa.
Afreximbank has already announced that it will double the amount of funding it is providing to Africa’s creative sector to $1 billion at Canex 2022, and currently has $600M under its belt, including $100M for film, $100M for music, $50M for visual arts, $20M for fashion, and $10M for sports.
“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″, Awani said.
According to Awani, Africa’s film & audiovisual sectors currently account for $5 billion of the continent’s GDP and employ an estimated 5 million people, and have the potential to create more than 20 million jobs and $20 billion in revenue annually in the near future.
She noted, however, that sector faced several challenges, including limited access to financing and copyright infringement due to weak copyright laws, enforcement mechanisms and a lack of awareness.
Other issues included 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.
In an earlier address, German-Ghanian actor Boris Kodjoe, whose credits include Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, told the summit that African creativity was increasingly influential on the world stage but that Africa faced branding challenges due to external perception fuelled by traditional media’s depiction of poverty, famine, civil wars and migration on the continent.
He said this could be on the cusp of changing with rising demand for culturally specific global content and quoted statistics suggesting that by 2030, Africa was projected to produce up to 10 per cent of global creative goods export worth roughly $200 billion or 4% of Africa’s GDP.
H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, echoed these sentiments in another address.
“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.
Muchanga urged African countries to convert its “vast potential’ into plans and projects that yielded tangible results, stressing the need to also invest in protecting international property rights.
Canex is an Afreximbank initiative aimed at supporting Africa and the African Diaspora’s creative and cultural industries by providing financing and non-financing instruments to boost growth.
The seven-day Canex Summit is taking place within the confines of IATF2023, Africa’s largest trade and investment fair, which is running from November 9 to 15 in Cairo.
Pan-African financial institution Afreximbank was created in 1993 under the auspices of the African Development Bank.
It is headquartered in Cairo and has regional offices in the capitals of Zimbabwe, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nigeria and Cameroon.