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Something huuuge is coming. (in the voice of Sabinus)

With the launch of a $1 billion African Film Fund, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has taken a historic step in paving the way for a revolutionary chapter in the continent’s film industry. This initiative, which was unveiled at the 2023 CANEX Summit as a part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), represents a major advancement in promoting and preserving the rich tapestry of African storytelling.

Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President of Intra-African Trade Bank, Kanayo Awani, gave a forward-thinking assessment of the fund. The goal of the funding infusion is to manage the financing of motion pictures, co-finance significant projects with big studios, and offer direct assistance to African producers, directors, and filmmakers throughout the continent. This pledge demonstrates Afreximbank’s commitment to encouraging innovation and tackling persistent issues in the sector.

During CANEX WKND 2022, Afreximbank doubled down on its support for the creative sector, increasing its financing from $500 million to an impressive $1 billion. With a robust pipeline of over $600 million in film, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports deals, the bank is poised to become a catalyst for the growth of Africa’s creative economy.

Awani emphasized the enormous potential of the film and audiovisual sectors in Africa, which employ an estimated five million people and add $5 billion to the GDP of the continent. The Film Fund attempts to solve important legal gaps that result in copyright infringement and restricted access to funding. This opens doors for African creative and cultural products to enter foreign markets and receive visibility.

Beyond funding, the fund recognizes the challenges the industry has, such as limitations in infrastructure and technology, capacity issues, and a lack of qualified workers. With its all-encompassing strategy, the Film Fund is positioned as a complete answer, tackling structural issues that have impeded the industry’s expansion in addition to providing financing.

Ghanaian-born actor Boris Kodjoe highlighted the long-lasting influence of African creativity on a number of facets of contemporary life. He emphasized the significance of globally relevant content that is both diverse and culturally specific, emphasizing Africa’s crucial role in satisfying this demand. Kodjoe’s observations highlight the industry’s capacity to both enthrall people throughout the world and modify external perceptions that have been shaped by representations in traditional media.

The growing impact of Afrobeats and the prediction that by 2030, Africa will generate up to 10% of the world’s creative goods were also noted by Kodjoe, demonstrating the continent’s cultural strength. Africa has a youthful population and strong internet connections, making it a potential cultural powerhouse. TV series and movies are essential to this exchange of cultures.

The African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, outlined the creative sector’s explosive expansion as well as its significant role in promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth. His appeal to turn Africa’s potential into concrete projects is in line with the goals of the Film Fund, which emphasizes the need of funding the defense of international intellectual property rights.

The $1 billion African Film Fund from Afreximbank shines brightly as a chance for the continent’s film industry. If properly utilized and not swallowed by snakes and monkeys (as witnessed in a certain West African country), the fund has the potential to profoundly impact Africa’s socioeconomic fabric in addition to changing the dynamics of the film industry.

Fingers crossed.

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  • Ezenwa Okonkwo

    Ezenwa Okonkwo is the Senior Writer, Film & TV Business at InsideNollywood.Ng. He is a well-rounded storyteller, poet, and screen writer with a flare for the silver screen. Ezenwa also has an eye for documentary-themed photography and wields a curious mind that’s constantly shifting from “what if” to “what next”.

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