Africa : culture, a gold mine to exploit
The African Business magazine devotes its February 2014 issue to the African creative industries and their potential, yet underutilized, for wealth creation and social development. A must read. Find it below.
Statistics on global trade in cultural goods and services, published by UNESCO and UNDP, reveal that creative industries are doing well. Nevertheless, Africa's contribution to this vast industry remains small, especially when compared to the continent's cultural diversity and abundance of talent. This observation is the starting point of African Business' cover story, "Fortunes to be made from Africa's creativity". Through key figures and interviews with experts, the magazine gives an overview of African creative economy and analyzes the necessary conditions of its development and the challenges it faces.
The cultural sector can make a difference in terms of income generation, job creation and exports. The magazine provides concrete evidence of that. Nollywood, Nigeria's film industry, generates 5% of the Nigerian GDP and 11% of non-oil exports according to the British Council. It is now the second-largest provider of work in the country. In South Africa, home to one of the best developed film industries on the African continent, the government received 63 million dollars in tax revenue generated directly and indirectly by companies in the sector in 2012.
Despite this, African creative industries still suffer from a fragmentation of their value chain and a lack of infrastructure. To exploit the African movie market potential, for example, it is estimated that 1,000 cinemas should be developed each year. Weak intellectual property protection, the lack of public support and training opportunities for creators also prevent the continent from fully grasping the growth opportunities offered by the cultural and creative sectors.
Today, the development of cultural industries in Africa appears essential to meet the expectations of young audiences and their rising demands for local content. As noted by editor Anver Versi, quoting his speech at the third African Creative Economy Conference (2013) : in the future," African youth will need a constant steam of narratives of their own making, rather than those imported from other geographies." With this in mind, Mr. Versi calls for making culture "a pillar of national development".