Afreximbank Floats $1bn African Film Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is establishing a $1 billion African Film Fund in 2024 to support the continent’s movie industry.
This information was disclosed by the Executive Vice President for Intra-African Trade Bank at Afreximbank, Mrs Kanayo Awani, in Cairo, Egypt, during her address at the opening of the 2023 Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) Summit held as part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023).
IATF2023 is Africa’s largest trade and investment fair opened yesterday and will run till November 15, 2023.
Mrs Awani said 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 noted that during CANEX WKND 2022, its initiative to support Africa and the African Diaspora’s creative and cultural industries by providing financing and non-financing instruments, the bank had increased the financing it was making available to the creative sector from $500 million to $1 billion and that the bank currently had a pipeline of over $600 million in film, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports deal.
“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.”
Acknowledging that the film and audiovisual industries in Africa accounted for $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 $20 billion in revenues annually, Mrs Awani noted that the sector faced several challenges, including limited access to financing and copyright infringement due to weak copyright laws, enforcement mechanisms and a lack of awareness.
The sector was also confronted with infrastructure and technology gaps, lack of capacity and shortage of skilled professionals, and limited market access and international exposure, as a result of which African creative and cultural products often struggle to gain exposure and access to international markets.
Earlier, Boris Kodjoe, a celebrity actor of Ghanaian descent, highlighted how the creativity of Africans had influenced various aspects of modern life, including music, fashion, art, design, social consciousness, business, sports, film and TV. He said that the exploitation of black creativity by the West had had lasting effects and that, despite admiration of black excellence, Africa still faced branding challenges due to external perception fuelled by the traditional media’s depiction of poverty, famine, civil wars and migration on the continent.
The seven-day CANEX Summit is intended to further develop conversations and provide additional business-to-business and business-to-government opportunities. It includes a fashion show featuring a range of bold and exciting designs from across Africa and the Diaspora and a CANEX Music Factory, hosted by renowned South African producer Oskido, which will provide songwriters and beatmakers with the opportunity to record their work.
The CANEX programme set up by Afreximbank seeks to facilitate the development and growth of the creative and cultural industries in Africa and the diaspora. The programme provides a range of financing and non-financing instruments and interventions aimed at supporting trade and investment in Africa’s creative sector.