The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has pledged $500 million for the production and trade of African cultural and creative products over the next two years. This disclosure was made by the Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah at the Creative Africa Exchange event, held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Oramah explained that the funds would be available for creatives as loans to banks, direct financing to operators and as guarantees. He said the creative industry was getting recognition in recent times as a significant sector for its meaningful contribution to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, the cultural and creative industries catalysed economic growth by fostering more inclusive, connected and collaborative societies.
However, Oramah attributed the lack of infrastructure and capacity witnessed in the industry to the under-investment in the creative industry in Africa. This he said was why adequate funds are not being generated from it yet.
“Creative industries can be potent vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies.
“Because of underinvestment in the creative and cultural industries, Africa is largely absent in the global market of ideas, values, and aesthetics as conveyed through music, theatre, literature, film, and television. African countries import overwhelmingly more creative goods than they export or trade amongst themselves,” Oramah said.
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Speaking further, Oramah praised Egypt’s astronomical growth in creative exports over the last decade. In the same vein, he commended Nollywood that its increasing relevance had prompted the Nigerian government, in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, to forecast export revenues of $1 billion from the industry by 2020.
Oramah described the African market as the lowest hanging fruit for African creative products but noted that, until recently, that market was fragmented and balkanised, such that a Senegalese knew more about creative products in France than in Ghana.