Africa has set up an ambitious program to grow the continent’s film industry from 5 billion US dollars to 20 billion US dollars, with the potential to create at least twenty million jobs, according to the African Union (AU).
The AU is in the final stages of setting up the African Audio Visual and Cinema Commission (AACC) aimed at opening up the potential of the continent’s film industry. At a meeting held in Nairobi this week, African ministers of youth, culture and sports agreed on modalities of ensuring the commission is up and running by 2018.
Africa’s top film talent has already made its mark on the global stage, the continent itself is a go to location for film makers, but experts say its full potential has not been exploited.
This is the reason why African film makers and leaders met in Nairobi to see how the continent can use the industry to spur economic growth.
“What we have is a lot. We need to have harmonised policies on these issues; we need to have a commission to guide to regulate the relations to promote what we have and we need centres of excellence so that we have quality productions,” says AU Commissioner of Social Affairs Amira Elfaldil.
In June this year, the commission set up the African Audio Visual and Cinema Commission
Deputy Minister of Youth Development in South Africa Buti Manamela says the project will create jobs. “If we put together resources under one commission I think that will go a long way in creating jobs for young people, support emerging film makers and help us preserve our heritage,” says Manamela. In June 2017, the commission set up the African Audio Visual and Cinema Commission. The commission will now help Africa’s film makers create jobs, grow economies and tell the African story through African eyes. “Today, if you are watching a Kenyan movie, Ghanaian movie, South African movie it brings a sense of identity and dignity,” says Ghana Ambassador William Kanyirige. AU Commissioner Sarah Mbi says, “If you have a talent and you can go out there and you can sell yourself big then you are already employed.”
Manamela says the stories will be told with a united voice. “We are starting. We are on a track, and we are hoping to start tell our stories much more coherently and with a united voice.”
The AU is now aiming for five regional centres of excellence in film making in each of the regional economic blocs. These will help facilitate the export of African film products and services to international markets.
– By Sarah Kimani