On 12th On January 1, 2022, Warner Music Group (WMG) announced that it had acquired a majority stake in Africari – the first major acquisition of the year in the entertainment industry. Momentum in this direction increased with WMG’s initial investment in Africori in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, followed by Africori’s signing of a global sub-publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music France in December 2020.
In 2019, WMG signed a partnership deal with leading Nigerian record label Chocolate City and a licensing deal with Boomplay, raising $20 million. In the same year, French media giant Canal+ acquired Nigerian production studio ROK Film Studios from video-on-demand (VOD) company IROKO TV. In September 2018, Netflix acquired the worldwide rights to Genevieve Nnaji’s comedy Lionheart. In the same year, Black Panther became the first African-themed film with a predominantly black cast and became a worldwide hit, grossing approximately US$13.5 billion at the worldwide box office.
On January 19ththAugust 2022, Carry1st, a South African publisher of social games and interactive content across Africa, raised a $20 million Series A expansion led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). These brought great attention to Africa’s creative digital economy – the subject of this essay.
Africa’s creative digital economy, which encompasses music, film, art, fashion, cultural artifacts, apps and games, not only generates wealth for creators but also contributes to gross domestic product, exports and boosting development outcomes, according to the United Nations conference Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “The creative industries are now recognized as an instrument of sustainable developmentt,” says Marisa Henderson, director of UNCTAD’s creative industries program. UNCTAD defines this “creative economy”, also known as the “orange economy”, as the sum of all parts of the creative economy, including trade, labor and production. You’ve followed the trade in creative goods and services for almost twenty years and have consistently found that the growth rate of creative industries’ exports is outstripping that of other industries. It is estimated that Africa’s cultural goods sector employs around half a million people and generates revenues of US$4.2 billion.
“Digitization closes the gap between the creative economies of developing countries and world marketssays Makhtar Diop, chief executive of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). “This is important because the transmission of cultural wealth can mobilize social change and create jobs for young people.” According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), digital platforms encourage the growth of artists, performers, musicians and others by enabling them to create a global reach audience. The Creative Africa Nexus Summit (CANEX) in November 2021 in South Africa focused on Africa’s creative and cultural industries that bring creativity and technology together
Digital music streaming revenue in Africa is expected to reach US$500 million by 2025, according to the World Bank, up from just US$100 million in 2017. Music streaming now accounts for more than half of the global music industry’s revenue. Global online video subscriptions reached 1.1 billion in 2020, a 26% increase from the previous year.
MUSIC: Africori is the largest digital music distribution and rights management company in sub-Saharan Africa, serving a diverse range of African artists (approximately 7,000) and serving 850 clients from offices in Lagos, London and Johannesburg, where its leading artist master KG was founded Jerusalema ( feat. Nomcebo), which became a worldwide hit during the pandemic. According to Yoel KenanFounder and CEO of Africari “African music inspires creatives from all over the world”. Alfonso Perez SotoEPP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Warner Music said “I am delighted that we will be working with Africori – and Yoel Kenan in particular – as they were pioneers and fought for the interests of artists and the music industry in Africa. We can harness the power of our global network to bring their great African music to a truly global audience.”
Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa, believes the African music industry is at a turning point. “We have artists who have already signed substantive deals with the biggest labels because everyone can clearly see that the demand is high and the world is ready for African pop music“. Sauti Sol, the pop band from Kenya, has attracted international attention.
MOVIE: Africa’s creative digital economy is also gaining global attention in the film/streaming sector. At the height of the pandemic, Netflix released its first two original African TV series, Queen Soto and Blood and Water. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and film studios including Disney and Cape Town Film Studios are investing heavily in African productions. Disney Animations has partnered with Uganda-based Kugali to bring an Africa-themed sci-fi animated series, Iwaju, to the Disney Plus service in 2023. Iroko TV announced last year that it would list on the London Stock Exchange to raise capital to compete with these global players entering the African market. Digital TV Research estimates that Africa’s streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) users will reach 13 million by 2025.
According to PWC, Nigeria’s film industry, known as Nollywood, is the largest private employer in Africa and one of the fastest growing creative industries in the world. Nollywood has the potential to become Nigeria’s largest export, with a CAGR of 19.3% from 2018 to 2023. SouthBox Based in Atlanta, USA, Entertainment, whose founder Jon Gosier lived in Uganda for some time, was inspired to invest in Defiant Entertainment’s Rise, a film about the terrorist group Boko Haram. To date, Southbox has financed one theatrical release feature and three streaming-launched feature films. SouthBox Entertainment is working with some local partners to launch an initiative called the Africa Media Trust Fund to direct investment into more African film and TV productions. South African entertainment company MultiChoice has launched new television channels in Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique over the past 18 months as part of its hyper-local African strategy, which it says combines local content acquisition, local content production and development with international production partnerships . In Senegal, the Kourtrajme collective has opened a film school to train talented African screenwriters.
OTHER: In May 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria, in partnership with the Bankers’ Committee, announced a N22 billion fund for entrepreneurs and investors in the creative and IT sectors. This was followed in January 2020 by Afreximbank – African Export-Import Bank’s announcement of a US$500 million loan facility to support African cultural and creative products. Towards the end of 2021, Annan Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based impact fund manager, announced its €100 million Impact Fund for African Creatives (IFFAC) at Paris Fashion Week. Now based in Kenya The HEVA fund for creatives has invested about a million dollars in 40 companies since 2015 and directly supported over 8,000 creative people. Its founder, George Gachara, said that African governments need to encourage the creative sector. the Black Star International Film Festival by Juliet Asante and the Chale Wote Art Festival of Mantse Aryeequaye annually showcases Ghana’s creative sector in August.
The Mastercard Foundation has partnered with kisua, to create a leading African fashion brand pineapple an e-commerce platform that connects African designers with local and international consumers by using technology to simplify inventory, payments and logistics. Casting Africaa platform created by Ghanaian entrepreneur and industry expert Kwasi Bosiako Antwi is helping to identify talent across the continent through initiatives like their monologue challenge. AMP Global Technologies‘ Interactive content and fan engagement technology enables content creators to connect with their audiences. For example hers Take back the microphone Series enable discovery of new creators through the eyes of audiences who like and share their music, film, or graphic content .
According to Bill Sonneborn, Senior Director, Disruptive Technology and Funds at IFC, “Creator technology can help solve access and inclusion issues. When artists can develop local and global audiences with appropriate monetization, they become part of a sector that offers direct and indirect employment opportunities and is worth investing in“. According to him, new technologies such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can help enforce copyrights and prevent piracy by helping artists get paid for their work, while Mobile Money (MoMo) platforms make it easier for consumers across Africa to to pay for movies. music and art.