Africa’s Creative Economy is Apt to Fattening Your Pockets.

I adore creativity, don’t you? I mean, who doesn’t. Expressiveness dates back to eons ago, I think from beginning of time.

Well, just look at stories that took time thousands of years ago. Remember that time David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.’  (2 Samuel 6:5) or when Miriam the prophetess took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.’ (Exodus 15:20) or maybe even when David innocently played the lyre to calm jealous Saul’s demon infested mind? Ever heard of the saying, we are creators just as God created us? Anyway, you get the drift.

Mama Africa is not only blessed with minerals and insurmountable commodities, but she is rich in talent and creativity. It is key to note that most countries in our continent lack the framework and proficiency to beneficiate this pool of artistry into viable innovations.

Having made this observation, we have noteworthy exceptions with Nigeria, Northern Africa and South Africa film industries being the most outstanding.

Nollywood, the film industry in Nigeria is ranked as the 2nd largest movie industry in the world after Hollywood based on the number of annual films produced and jobs created. This Nigerian giant creative economy boasts of being the second-largest employer in Nigeria. This reminds me how most of us learned our Nigerian accents from Afro Cinema, oh!

According to Business Insider Africa in a study released in 2021, the Nigerian creative industry employs 4.2 million people across various sectors like Media and Entertainment, Beauty and Lifestyle, Visual Arts, as well as Tourism and Hospitality.

There’s hope because in recent times, there has been much talk about the potential of the creative and cultural industries in contribution to Africa’s economic growth. We are witnesses to governments, local and international organizations and corporate institutions finding creative ways to work with creatives.

The creative economy will most definitely rapidly boost economies and drive inclusive socio-economic development in Africa. According to EY, 2015, this industry has a significant contribution of three percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). This highlights the economic potential of creative industries as a source of growth and job creation in Africa.

This poses the one million dollar question, how might other African countries learn and tap into the creative economy? Well, they MUST put into consideration investing in cultural industries, which, according to UNCTAD, are composed of the following 9 sectors:

  • Traditional cultural expressions – Arts and crafts, festivals and celebrations.
  • Cultural sites – Archaeological sites, museums, libraries, exhibitions, etc.
  • Visual arts – Paintings, sculptures, photography and antiques
  • Publishing and printed media – Books, press and other publications
  • Design – Interior, graphic, fashion, jewelry and toys
  • Performing arts – Music, theatre, dance, opera, circus, puppetry, etc.
  • Audio-visual – Film, television, radio and other broadcasting
  • New/Modern media – Software, video games, digitalized creative content
  • Creative services – Architectural, advertising, creative R & D, cultural and recreational activities.

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