What if....what if there was a product that could be made in Africa, boost local employment, earn foreign exchange, and enhance Africa's image outside of Africa all at the same time? That would be tremendous, am I right? In fact, just performing one of these items in good fashion, in any part of the world, would probably earn the business person or persons behind the effort major recognition. So, it should follow that anyone whom is able to simultaneously do all five of these functions, plus do it in Africa, should attract major international press covergage-right? If you are nodding your head "yes" that's exactly what I did too. However, there is such a product-that is made in Africa. Many of you may not have heard of it before, but I am sure that most of my readers who are from Africa are at least somewhat familiar with it. This brings us to today's topic-Nigerian cinema.
You see, whether we are talking about employing from local labor pools, earning export revenues, or allowing Nigerians to tell their own story this industry has been doing each of the above for at least 30 years. Below you may find a few facts about Nigeria's cinema industry:
- Africa's largest cinema/films producer.
- Nigeria is the third largest films producer in the world, after America and India.
- Many people both inside and outside of industry circles refer to Nigeria cinema as "Nollywood".
- Produces roughly between 1,000 and 2,000 films per year.
- On average, 15,000 to 20, 000 DVD's is what one might expect from in sales from the typical Nigerian movie. However, blockbusters may sell up to ten times or more that amount or 200,000 - 300,000 copies.
- Average production budget is between $15,000 to $25,000 per title.
- This is a fully privatised industry in Nigeria and employs over 300,000 people annually.
- This industry brings $250m into Nigeria's economy every year.
- Most of these films are completed within a few days, they can be found throughout Africa and penetrate the African market outside of Nigeria, while also making their way abroad.
- Most of these films go straight to video or DVD and sell for $3 each.
This is but a sample of information about cinema in Nigeria and since I wanted to specifically highlight Nigeria's achievements; the focus of this post is on Nigeria, as opposed to Africa as a whole. However, if I didn't at least mention a few points about some of Africa's other players in this arena, I might be doing them a dis-service. So, if you'd like to catch a glimpse into some of Africa's other promising cinema/film creation hubs, plus find relates links click [here].
In conclusion, I'd say that Nigerian cinema is already a diamond. But what do you think?Also, do you think that the same could be said for African cinema outside of Nigeria? And just out of curiousity, could you ever see yourself investing either in Nigeria's film industry or in any of Africa's other cinema hubs? Well, if you said yes, you might not be alone. In fact, you might find yourself having some unlikely company-Wesley Snipes and Danny Glover, both of whom seem to be very interested in playing a huge role in the future of African cinema. Hmmmm.....
One last thing that I'd like to say is that I think this dovetails very nicely with a post that Black River Eagle recently added to his blog over at Jewels In the Jungle. This post discusses the perception of Africa -vs- the reality-please check it out. I bring it up because, like my post his also deals with Africa telling her own story and possibly improving her image simultaneously.
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