Tapping Into Africa's Film Industry Potential

Africa's film and audiovisual industries could create over 20 million jobs and contribute U.S.$20 billion to the continent's combined GDP, the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, said in a new report highlighting this untapped potential.

In the report, African Film Industry: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Growth, UNESCO said that an estimated five million people currently work in Africa's film industry, which contributes U.S.$5 billion to the continent's GDP. The Nollywood film industry is the continent's biggest, churning out 2,500 movies per year.

However, the film industry also faces the significant problem of piracy, and underinvestment is hampering growth. The report also identified a lack of freedom of expression as hindering the film industry's progress, with professionals in 47 countries reporting limitations on the issues that they are able to handle in their creative work.

Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General, presented the report in Paris, alongside esteemed filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako and Mati Diop. "This landmark publication reflects on the importance of strengthening international cooperation to enable all countries - in particular, developing countries- to develop cultural and creative industries that are viable and competitive both nationally and internationally," she said.

The report aims to help the African film industry, and decision-makers, to take stock of the current landscape and plan strategically for future growth. "Africa's potential as a film powerhouse remains largely untapped, despite a significant growth in production across the continent," the report says.


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