Tag Archive | "Africa"

Nollywood Intervention Fund

The Nigerian film industry popularly called Nollywood is a money spinning industry that has been left to its own fate since it became famous in the 1990s. Most of what is known about Nigeria in other parts of the continent and Europe is through Nollywood. There are cases of some Nigerian parents abroad who compel their children to watch Nigerian films for them to be abreast with the Nigerian culture and what is going on at home. Outside the country, Nollywood has been well received but unknown to its lovers abroad, it is an industry that is struggling to survive. It is an industry established with a tenacious spirit of grassroot entrepreneurship.

Piracy is a critical issue ravaging the industry. Many filmmakers see their investment in it as throwing money into the ocean without getting returns as their works are pirated as soon as they reach the market shelves. Nollywood Film & Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria estimated that up to 50 percent of the Nollywood’s profit is currently being lost to piracy. Intellectual Property Right laws have been ineffective for years. The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) seems to have done nothing at all to salvage an industry that is rated as the world’s second largest producer of films after India’s Bollywood.  With this rating, it has overtaken America’s Hollywood. Today many Nollywood films are pirated in China and resold in Nigeria.

In addition, it is also an industry that is starved of funds. Making a good film requires a great deal of money which most Nigerian filmmakers don’t have. An average filmmaker in the country has to source for money independently to produce his movie. This poor funding has resulted in films of poor quality which currently flock the market. Most Nigerian films are characterised by badly written scripts which lack depth.  Most of our script writers rarely read to gain needed insight to global trends. To be a great artist in any part of the world is to be so absolutely widely read. If an artiste is not educated there is no way he can come up with a well research script for a good movie.

Be that as it may, the recent interventionist approach by the Goodluck Jonathan administration is quite commendable. November last year, the President announced that the Federal Government will investment of $200 million (N30 billion) into the development of the entertainment industry. The Special Entertainment Fund, will be disbursed by the Bank of Industry (BOI) as single-digit interest rate loans. It is the first time in the country that the Federal Government will make such fund available for the entertainment industry including Nollywood. As good as this may sound, what the Federal Government should work towards Arts Endowment Fund like some countries of the world like Germany where the Arts is valued. It is also important that Nigeria has a cultural policy which will enable FG harness the huge potentials in this industry and make it marketable for tourism.

For this fund to be judiciously used and for investors to get returns on their money, the Federal Government must through the NCC enforce the intellectual property right laws to curb piracy. FG must also put in place a proper marketing strategy as the industry currently survives on the ordinary marketing strategy used by traders in selling their wares in the open market. The survival of  Nollywood can only be possible if proper structures are put in place as it services are currently informal.

In addition, it is crucial that Nollywood practitioners put their house in order as the industry that is currently riddled by factions created by longstanding feud, and fight for supremacy.  It is only when Nollywood begins to take itself seriously that other meaningful investors can come in and a better return on investment is assured.

Posted in Nigerian News, Relocating to NigeriaComments (2)

Illegal Migration by Africans

Despite the economic crisis in the Euro zone, Europe still remains a major attraction for many young Africans, who regularly risk their lives on dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean Sea.  Authorities on Spain’s Canary Islands alone caught almost thirty thousand Africans trying to enter in 2006.  

For many of these migrants, the push is the strong desire to escape economic hardship in their homelands.  The perception that Europe irrespective of its present challenges offers better opportunities than obtains at home continues to be strong among the continent’s young people.

Three weeks ago, nearly 80 African migrants drowned off the cost of Yemen after bad weather caused the two boats they were travelling in to capsize.  The two boats capsized in two separate accidents and sites.   One of them carrying 45, most of whom were Ethiopians, went down near the Red sea.  Only three of those who were onboard, believed to be Somalis, were found alive after they made it to Yemen coast.

Fundamentally, illegal migration is not an African problem.  However, in the last two decades, we have seen many young Africans, male and female, risk the dangerous sea and desert paths in the quest to reach the imaginary Promise Land.  A lot have died; many others are held in many detention camps, yet the migration continues.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that going by the leadership in countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Sudan and even Nigeria, it does appear that it might well take a while before young Africans will begin to see the continent as a place of hope and opportunities.  The biggest cause of migration is crisis.  Even in countries like Nigeria that are not at war, we see a lot of crisis, insecurity, and uncertainty.  The situation in Jos and the Niger Delta are cases in point.

Next to crisis is corruption.  The most obvious indicator of the high level of corruption in the Nigerian system is the clearly staggering wealth of a handful in the face of the poverty of the majority.  But it manifests itself in other ways – regular power cuts and lack of other infrastructure and basic services.

There is also unemployment which skyrockets when the public resources that should be committed into job creation ventures are siphoned out of the country.  Nigeria has seen a great deal of this heartless looting of public treasury. Billions of naira is budgeted for promised improvements on roads, power supply and so on, but the tangible changes that these promises should deliver are not seen because a substantial proportion of the monies were not used for the projects in the first place.

Like African professionals that are visible all over the cities of Europe and America, the continuous exodus of our youths via dangerous paths, grossly depopulates the very resources that Africa needs to lift itself out of poverty.  Africa needs to manage its resources responsibly, sustainably and accountably.  That is the only way to reduce the clearly dangerous and avoidable risks that these illegal migrants subject themselves to.

Posted in Nigerian News, Relocating to NigeriaComments (1)

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