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In search of $20b creative industry revenue target 

Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) earnings have dropped in recent years as crude oil prices dipped.  But the creative industry is emerging as alternative to crude in Nigeria’s forex earnings. With adequate support, the growing demand for Nigerian music, movies and fashion, across Africa and in various parts of the globe, Nigeria has the potential to earn over $20 billion annually from the creative industry.

Nigeria’s creative industry, which comprises the music, movie, fashion and IT industries is beginning to emerge as a key source of wealth and job creation in Nigeria. 

Across Africa and in various parts of the globe, Nigeria’s creative industries, are spurring innovation, creating jobs, increasing export revenues and helping to shape perceptions on Nigeria, as a nation with a strong spirit of creativity and ingenuity.

Not surprisingly, many people have shared  fond memories visiting barber stores in European countries ; and the music being played to the delight of customers were Tiwa Savage, Flavour, and Burna Boy. 

There have also been several cases where Davido and WhizKid’s songs are being played in malls in outside Nigeria. 

The same goes for Nigerian Movies ; which today dominates the homes and movie theaters in different parts of the world.

According to information provided by PWC, South Africa, with a population of 53 million generated close to $85.3 million in consumer spending on music in 2018, a figure much larger than that amount spent in either Kenya or Nigeria. Furthermore, South Africa’s per capita music spending of $1.61 is far greater than 43 cents spent in Kenya and 25cents spent in Nigeria. 

By this measure, if Nigeria is able to address these challenges which have constrained the growth of its creative industries, enormous room for growth exist in the Nigerian market.  

It was the need to do more to encourage the innovative work of these and other young talented Nigerians, that prompted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele to support the creative industry  as it could significantly contribute to the foreign exchange earnings, growth and development of the country.

This is because after oil, entertainment has turned out to be Nigeria’s major export and source of foreign exchange earnings. Besides, it is one of the topmost sector creating jobs for millions of youths and building positive image for the nation.

Now that crude oil volatility at the global oil market, countries with foresight are now exploring forex earning opportunities in other sectors.

India for example generates over  $240 billion annually from exports of IT, Movies, Music and Fashion related goods and services. 

For Nigeria,  the creative industry, dominated by music, fashion, movies and IT hubs are attracting new funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) scheme. 

The CBN has, through the CIFI scheme, encouraged banks to play more prominent roles by ensuring that the creative industry  not only gets funding, but also the right capacity that promotes creativity.

For instance, the ongoing remodeling of the National Arts Theatre under the ‘Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre’ is one of such supports. 

The N21.3 billion remodeling project initiated by the CBN-led Bankers’ Committee will house the fashion, music, movies and IT hubs. It will boost the creative and IT sectors in the areas of job creation, capacity building and forex revenue generation. 

Across Africa and in various parts of the globe, the Nigerian creative industries are well respected.

The project remodeling will come in two phases. The first phase of the project will require the restoration of key component parts of the edifice built in 1976 to ensure that the functionality of this iconic building is reinstated. The restored National Theatre will serve as the focus of a new Creative and Entertainment Centre.

The CIFI goal is to support startups and existing businesses across these four pillars, as well as foster the development of a Nigeria Creative Industries Centre in major major cities in Nigeria. Towards the realization of this objective the Bankers Committee intend to support this creative venture with about N25 billion of initial funding. 

The National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos  is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Nigeria Creative Industries Centre. Following the completion of the renovation works at the National Theatre, along with the supporting facilities that will be built around it, which includes a hotel and an expansive conference centre, the CBN intend to set up similar Creative Industries centres in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu. 

Speaking during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the handing over of the National Arts Theater to the Bankers’ Committee by the Federal Government, in Lagos, Emefiele said the project would restore the glory of an iconic building by aligning most of the fabric and equipment and facilities in the building with the aesthetics of the 21st century.

He said the Bankers’ Committee would equally be funding a prototype cluster located to the north of the National Arts Theatre, labelled the “Signature Cluster” consisting of a building each for Music, Film, Fashion and Information Technology verticals.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the project was an opportunity to write Nigeria’s name in gold for the future generation. “The project showed that when private and public enterprises partner, there is nothing that cannot be achieved,” he said.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said the National Theatre remodeling project was approved by the Federal Executive Council. He said for the Federal Government, the project was a win-win situation with several thousands of jobs to be created and investment opportunities for the economy.

Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare said the project would make huge impact in the development of the Creative Industry and support Nigeria’s economic development.

He said the restoration and refurbishment of the National Arts Theatre would provide jobs for over 25,000 to 30,000 people.

He said the aim was to deliver a successful Creative and Entertainment city that will encourage additional investment into Nigeria’s creative industry.

A portion of the site has been earmarked for the construction of the “Signature Cluster”, which consists of one building each for Fashion, Music, Film and IT.

Emefiele said building a hub around the theatre will benefit the youths that want to do fashion, movie, Information technology, and entertainment industry.

He said: “I can imagine what this place will look like in another two years. Every weekend if there will be something happening, it will boost the tourism potential of Lagos State and Nigeria. Nigerians go out to different seminars.”

The Chairman of Body of Banks CEOs, Herbert Wigwe, said the project was in line with the Federal Government’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.  He said the creative village would provide employment for at least a million Nigerians, who have skills in music, IT, movies, among others.

An economist and Managing Director, Rockview Services Limited, Michael Stevens, explained that given Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil as a major source of government revenue, as well as for its forex earnings, the challenges created by Covid-19 have served to reinforce the need for stakeholders to promote policies and programmes that will enable greater diversification of the Nigerian economy. 

Stevens said a diversified economy that supports increased productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, while harnessing the talents of the youths in the creative industries, will lead to the buildup of a more resilient economy, that is better able to withstand external shocks, while creating wealth and jobs for the growing population. 

Revenue potential 

The Creative Center, which comprises Music, Movies, Fashion and ICT can be a key source of growth for the economy creating up to one million jobs for our teaming youths. It will also aid Nigeria’s objective of reducing its dependence on revenues from crude oil. 

Emefiele said that with Nigeria’s human capital resources and an enabling environment that will help harness the creative talents of our youths, Nigeria has the potential to earn over $20 billion annually from the creative industry. 

With the growing demand for Nigerian music, movies and fashion, across Africa and in various parts of the globe, our creative industries, are spurring innovation, creating jobs, and helping to shape perceptions of Nigeria, as a nation with a strong spirit of creativity and ingenuity. 

“We must do more to encourage the innovative works of these young talented Nigerians as they can make significant contributions to the growth and development of our country,” he said. 

Second, given Nigeria’s growing population of over 200 million people, out of which 60 per cent are under the age of 35, it is imperative that the country strives to create opportunities that will keep its youths engaged, as it would portend great dangers for the progress of our nation if we allow these talents go to waste. 

Challenges facing creative industries 

Despite Nigeria’s large population, the lack of widely accessible shopping platforms, smuggling of goods, piracy, as well as lack of digital payment options have limited the growth of the creative industries in Nigeria relative to countries such as South Africa and Kenya. 

The CBN noted how the income due to Nigeria’s young Movie personnel and Musicians are stolen through unpaid Royalties. 

The apex bank intends to work with the  cooperative associations in the sector to ensure that all revenues/royalties due creative youths enter their bank accounts rather than being stolen. 

“The CBN will do its best to ensure that entrepreneurs in the creative sector obtain their fair share of what is derived from their hard work, as we intend to curb the worrying phenomenon of piracy of movies and music,” Emefiele said. 

One way we intend to curb these acts is by supporting the development of digital content and widely accessible platforms under which every Nigerian can purchase or rent movies/music via their mobile phones. 

“We recently granted Approval in principle for establishment of Payment Service Bank licenses to firms affiliated with the telecom and fintech industries. We believe this measure will help accelerate our efforts at ensuring more Nigerians have access to mobile financial services, particularly in underserved parts of the country”. 

“This will also enable Nigerians to purchase music, and movies via bank accounts linked to their mobile phones. 

We have also engaged in efforts to limit the smuggling of textile materials into the country. So far, our measures are yielding fruits as smugglers of textile materials are 

being restricted from utilizing the Nigerian financial system to support their nefarious activities. We intend to use this same measure to stop copyright infringements in our music and movie industries. This will help to support the growth of entrepreneurs in our local creative industries, as they will be able to capture the gains of their work”. 

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