Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
Thanks to the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa’s creative industry is about to receive a major boost with the US$500 million creative support fund by the Pan-African multilateral trade finance institution.
The president of the bank, Professor Benedict Oramah, who spoke recently at a virtual meeting facilitated by The Africa Soft Power Project, explains the facility.
“This facility is targeted at exporting creative goods like films, music, fashion small artists, fashion designers, make-up artists, and all aspects of creative goods. It also targets the financing of production, building infrastructure for the production of the creative goods and supporting companies that are engaged in the production,” he said.
The bank president said the COVID-19 pandemic had severely impacted on the world economy, including the creative sector. He, however, said the sector had shown signs of growth.
“Some production activities have stopped such as the fashion sub-sector, production of movies and music had been impacted. However, we have seen a tremendous growth in the demand for some creative goods as people get confined to their respective homes.”
He said the bank had developed a co-operative arrangement so that small-scale actors in the industry could team up to access the fund even as he emphasised that the support from Afrexim bank would boost Africa’s share in the US$2.25 trillion global creative industry market.
“We know that many actors in the creative industry are small and may not be able to have access to the financing given their small sizes. We, therefore, created a cooperative instrument so that we can give money to them through cooperatives,” he said.
Oramah also recalled that the bank, in 2019, launched the African Payment and Settlement System to make it possible for Africans to pay for goods and services in inter-Africa trade through their local currencies.
He said the system which made it possible for somebody in Kenya to buy contents produced in Mali and pay in Kenyan Shillings would open the market for Africa creative goods.
He said the mechanism would make it easier for Africans to trade among themselves and by doing so the creative goods would boom.
He noted that although the creative economy had been impacted but it had also shown some improvement.
“Global distribution channels for movies and music such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and even those that focus on Africa have seen remarkable growth in subscription. Netflix for instance announced an unprecedented 16million subscribers during the first quarter of this year.”
The interface and discussion session moderated by Omar Ben Yedder, group publisher & MD of IC Publications, included Chinelo Anohu (senior director, Africa Investment Forum) and Wamkele Mene (Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area), Dean Garfield (vice-president, public policy at Netflix). – The Nation