The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), by Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, revealed that the company is now working on the formation of a $1 billion African Film Fund to be unveiled in 2024 in order to help the film industry on the continent.

Mrs Awani, speaking at the opening of the 2023 CANEX Summit, which was held as part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), stated that the fund would oversee film financing, co-finance with large studios, finance African filmmakers, and finance producers and directors of film projects across the continent.

She mentioned that during CANEX WKND 2022, the Bank had boosted the amount of financing it was making available to the creative sector from US$500 million to US$1 billion and that the Bank presently had a pipeline of over US$600 million in cinema, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports transaction. She also mentioned that this rise had occurred during the Bank’s participation in CANEX WKND 2022.

“The very first film we financed recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival,” Mrs Awani said, adding, “The Bank has several in the pipeline from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya, which should be on streaming platforms in 2024.”

Mrs Awani pointed out that despite the fact that the film and audiovisual industries in Africa accounted for US$5 billion of the continent’s GDP and employed an estimated five million people, with the potential to create over 20 million jobs and generate US$20 billion in revenues annually, the sector faced several challenges. These challenges included limited access to financing and copyright infringement due to weak copyright laws, enforcement mechanisms, and a lack of awareness.

The sector was also challenged by a lack of infrastructure and technology, capacity and a shortage of skilled professionals, as well as limited market access and international exposure. As a direct result of these challenges, it is frequently difficult for creative and cultural products from Africa to gain exposure in international markets and to gain access to those markets.

Read also: Afreximbank launches its Trade Payment Service (AfPAY)

The impact so far

Earlier, Boris Kodjoe, a famous actor of Ghanaian origin, discussed how the inventiveness of Africans has inspired many facets of contemporary life, including music, fashion, art, design, social conscience, business, sports, film, and television. Kodjoe is of African descent. He said that the exploitation of black creativity by the West had had lasting effects and that, despite the admiration of black excellence, Africa still faced branding challenges due to the external perception that was fueled by the traditional media’s depiction of poverty, famine, civil wars, and migration on the continent. He said these challenges were fuelled by the traditional media’s portrayal of these issues.

According to Mr. Kodjoe, the world has an insatiable want for culturally specific global content, and Africa is one of the most important players in satisfying this desire. Studios, networks, promoters, and marketers were investing in solutions to reach various audiences in light of the continent’s young population and high connectivity. Films and television shows that featured diverse casts did better than others by a margin of thirty per cent, while afrobeat music was taking over airways all over the world. It was anticipated that by the year 2030, Africa would create up to ten per cent of global creative products exports worth around two hundred billion dollars, which would account for four per cent of Africa’s GDP.

Also addressed was H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission. He stated that the creative sector in Africa was fast expanding and making a substantial contribution to the inclusive growth and sustainable development of African economies. He said this during his presentation.

“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.”

Ambassador Muchanga told the African countries that they need to turn their huge potential into plans and projects that get things done. He also stressed that they needed to put money into protecting international property rights.

An Afreximbank project called CANEX helps the creative and cultural industries in Africa and the African Diaspora by offering financial and non-financial tools to encourage growth. The seven-day CANEX Summit is meant to continue talks and create more chances for businesses and the government to work together. There will be a fashion show with bright and fun designs from all over Africa and the Diaspora, as well as a CANEX Music Factory led by the famous South African producer Oskido, where songwriters and beatmakers can record their work.

This is the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) program that Afreximbank set up to help the creative and cultural industries in Africa and the diaspora grow and progress. Many financial and non-financial tools and interventions in the program are meant to help trade and investment in Africa’s creative industry.

The biggest trade and business show in Africa, IATF2023, began on November 9th and will end on November 15th, 2023.

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About Afreximbank

Pan-African multilateral financial institution Afreximbank finances and promotes intra- and extra-African trade. Over the past 30 years, the Bank has used novel structures to finance trade restructuring in Africa, speeding industrialisation and intra-regional commerce and boosting economic growth. Afreximbank, a staunch proponent of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that the African Union (AU) adopted as the AfCFTA infrastructure. The Bank is establishing a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund with the AfCFTA Secretariat and AU to help nations participate in the agreement. At the end of 2022, Afreximbank had US$31 billion in assets and guarantees and US$5.2 billion in shareholder capital. The Bank funded almost US$86 billion between 2016 and 2022. Fitch (BBB), GCR (international scale) (A), and Moody’s (Baa1) rate Afreximbank investment grade. The Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA) and AfrexInsure, along with the Bank, make up Afreximbank: the Group.

About the Intra-African Trade Fair

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, organises the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) to facilitate trade and investment information exchange to increase intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of implementing the AfCFTA. IATF brings regional and global players together to display their products and seek business and investment prospects in the continent. The platform allows stakeholders to share trade, investment, and market information and discuss and find solutions to intra-African trade and investment difficulties. The Trade Fair welcomes non-African enterprises and investors interested in conducting business in Africa and assisting its industrialisation and export development.