Nigeria seeks US collaboration in Nollywood productions – Premium Times

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [PHOTO CREDIT: FMIC Website]
The Federal Government has called for greater collaboration between Nigeria and the U.S. to improve film production quality by Nigerian actors and actresses.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the call on Thursday when he received the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Akunna Cook, on a courtesy visit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Cook is in the country to seek collaboration between Nigeria and the the area of the creative industry.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, accompanied her on the visit to the minister.
“As you know, Nollywood, as our film industry is known, is among the top three in the world.
“Yes, the quality of our films has 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 Mrs Cook’s visit was apt considering that Nigeria was working hard to reposition the creative and culture industry, which the COVID-19 pandemic had severely impacted.
The minister said the creative and culture industry is a crucial sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing 17.3 per cent to the country’s GDP in 2020.
He added that the industry provided between 10 million and 15 million jobs with other seemingly unrelated sectors. The creative and cultural 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 give the sector further a lift,’’ he said.
Mrs Cook, who expressed excitement with the level of involvement of Nigerian youths in the creative industry, said the U.S.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.
Mrs Cook said besides driving the economy and generating employment, Afrobeat and Nollywood were significant in changing negative perceptions about Africa.

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