U.S, ACM partner ON Nigeria’s creative industry – THE SUN
By Chukwuma Umeorah
In a move to bolster economic growth through Nigeria’s burgeoning creative industry, the United States of America has solidified its commitment to partnering with the Africa Creative Market (ACM), placing a strong emphasis on safeguarding intellectual property rights and harnessing the power of technology.
The announcement was made by Charge d’Affaires, US Mission in Nigeria, Will Stevens in Lagos at the weekend, signaling the start of the week-long event for the 2023 edition of ACM.
The collaboration signifies a growing global influence and underscores its commitment to fostering sustainable economic growth within the creative sector in Nigeria and Africa.
Despite facing challenges related to informal business structures, limited access to funding and markets, intellectual property issues, and a dearth of enabling regulations, the creative industry in Nigeria has demonstrated immense potential, with Motion Picture and music recording alone projected to generate over $197 million in 2023.
Stevens said that the enduring support and investment by the U.S. in the creative sector aligned with President Joe Biden’s vision outlined during the Africa Leaders’ Summit. Emphasizing the power of storytelling, he noted that the creative sector in Nigeria has made a name for itself globally through music, film, and fashion, citing the dominance of Nigerian films on international streaming services, attracting investments from various countries, including the U.S.
“The Africa Creative Market, a pivotal force in fostering global partnerships, aims to fortify relationships between Nigeria and its global counterparts in the creative sphere. The partnership not only bolsters Nigeria’s economy but also strengthens the bilateral relationship between both countries and the world.
This would translate to more investors coming in and creating an even bigger market where the Nigerian economy can benefit greatly.” Highlighting some of the challenges the industry faced, the Founder of Africa Creative Market, Inya Lawal, articulated the focus of this edition on protecting the significance of intellectual property and technology. She pointed out ACM’s collaboration with the government, including entities such as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to strengthen existing frameworks that enable players in the industry to grow.
“There is a need to improve what we have to enhance the profitability of creative ideas, thus contributing to Nigeria’s economy. Technology has proven to be a vital tool for achieving our aim. It has provided alternatives to conventional cinema viewing, such as Netflix. The idea is to have several streaming platforms, like those owned by Nigerians in the industry, to utilize the contents we are creating. The same applies to music, fashion, dance, and every part of the creative industry,” she explained.
Lawal further called on the government to increase its focus on education and infrastructure, as they remain crucial elements in bridging the knowledge gap between developed economies and Nigeria. She advocated for investment in education, technology training, and capacity building to fuel growth within Africa’s creative ecosystem while adding that the ACM is collaborating with HOW Foundation’s Wigwe University and other players in the private sector that would be helpful in the human capacity development of Nigerian entrepreneurs and creatives.”
The Programme Director at Wigwe University, Yvonne Victor-Olomu, stated her contribution to achieving the industry’s goals through specialized training and mentorship programs to help Nigerian creators scale globally and make their craft more profitable.
“We are creating young Nigerians who are prepared for the future of work and innovation to create solutions to African problems.”