Afreximbank to launch $1 billion African film fund in 2024


The African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to launch a $1 billion African Film Fund in 2024 to support the continent’s film industry, a senior official of the Bank announced on Thursday.

Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, at Afreximbank, said the fund would oversee film financing, co-finance with large studios, finance African filmmakers, producers, and directors of film projects across the continent.

Awani made the announcement during the opening of the 2023 CANEX Summit held as part of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) taking place in Cairo, Egypt on November 9 – 15.

She noted that the Bank had increased the financing it was making available to the creative sector from $500 million to US$1 billion and that the Bank currently had a pipeline of over $600 million in film, music, visual arts, fashion, and sports deal.

“The very first film we financed recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival,” Awani said. “The Bank has several in the pipeline from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya, which should be on streaming platforms in 2024.”

The bank official said CANEX programme is more than just showcasing African talents; it’s about shaping narratives, challenging stereotypes, and transforming lives through the power of creativity.

The film and audiovisual industries in Africa accounted for $5 billion of the continent’s GDP and employed an estimated five million people, with the potential to create over 20 million jobs and generate $20 billion in revenues annually.

Awani further said the sector faced several challenges, including limited access to financing and copyright infringement due to weak copyright laws, enforcement mechanisms and a lack of awareness, she added.

The sector also faced infrastructure and technology gaps, lack of capacity and shortage of skilled professionals and limited market access and international exposure, as a result of which African creative and cultural products often struggle to gain exposure and access to international markets.

“…Africa is a continent brimming with artistic brilliance, vibrant cultures, and untold stories. From the shimmering Saharan sunsets to the rhythmic beats of vibrant cities, there is a rich tapestry of inspiration waiting to be weaved into masterpieces that will captivate the world,”

Awani also said that “as we are gathered in Al Manara in these coming days, we have an opportunity to harness this creative potential and showcase the immense talent that lies within our extended borders as global Africa.”

Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) programme is established by Afreximbank seeks to facilitate the development and growth of the creative and cultural industries in Africa and the diaspora. The programme provides a diverse range of financing and non-financing instruments and interventions aimed at supporting trade and investment in Africa’s creative sector.

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