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Nigeria seeks US collaboration in Nollywood production

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The Federal Government on Thursday called for greater collaboration between Nigeria and the US in improving the quality of film production by Nigerian actors and actresses.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call when he received the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mrs Akunna Cook, on a courtesy visit.

Our correspondent reports that Cook is in the country to seek collaboration between Nigeria and the US in the area of the creative industry.

She was accompanied on the visit to the minister by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard.

“As you know, Nollywood, as our film industry is known, is among the top three in the world.”

“Yes, the quality of our films have improved incrementally over the years, but we can still benefit from the rich experience of America’s Hollywood, the undisputed world best.”

“Apart from improving the quality of our production through technical training and exchanges, we will also like to learn a few tricks in the area of animation,” the minister pointed out.

He said Cook’s visit was apt considering that Nigeria was working hard to reposition the creative and culture industry, which had been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said the creative and culture industry is a key sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing 17.3 per cent to the country’s GDP in 2020.

He added that the industry, together with other seemingly unrelated sectors, provided between 10 million and 15 million jobs adding that the creative and culture industry was the biggest employer of labour after agriculture.

Speaking on institutional support to the industry, the minister said that in the wake of the pandemic, the Federal Government set up a committee to assess the impact of the pandemic on the sector and recommend measures to mitigate it.

“Let me quickly say that the industry, which includes film, television, radio, music, performance arts, information technology, gaming and software development, publishing and printing as well as fashion and tourism, has received strategic interventions from the Nigerian government in the past.”

“These include the N22.9 billion Central Bank of Nigeria Creative Industry Financing Initiative; the N1 billion Bank of Industry Nollyfund, another N1 billion Bank of Industry Fashion and Beauty Fund and N-Power Creative and Project Act Nollywood Federal Grant.”

“We are still exploring other avenues to further give the sector a lift,” he said.

Cook, who expressed excitement with the level of involvement of Nigerian youths in the creative industry, said the US was willing to collaborate in any area.

She said she was happy with the rate of development of the Nigeria Afrobeat and Nollywood productions even with little institutional support.

Cook said besides driving the economy and generating employment, Afrobeat and Nollywood were significant in changing negative perception about Africa.

According to her, Afrobeat music is a hit across the globe “from Australia, to Iceland, Europe and America”.

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Rotimi Ijikanmi

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