At the 2020 Creative Africa Exchange (CAX) Weekend in Kigali, Afreximbank president Benedict Okey Oramah sat down with CNN’s Eleni Giokos, for the network’s MarketPlace Africa segment, to discuss the potential of the continent’s creative industries and why they are often overshadowed by more traditional industries.
Created in 1993, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is the foremost pan-African multilateral trade finance institution, committed to funding and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. With 50 member countries, its mission statement is: “To stimulate a consistent expansion and diversification of African trade, to rapidly increase Africa’s share of global trade, and in doing so, to operate as a first-class, profit-oriented, socially responsible financial institution and a ‘Centre of Excellence in African Trade Matters.'”
“The big issue for Africa is a youth bulge,” Oramah says in the 3-minute video. “The continent is not producing enough jobs to absorb the rising population. We see the youth producing in music, movies, and fashion. It’s a low-cost way of providing jobs, increasing trade, and boosting our economy. We at Afreximbank want to increase the momentum.”
At the CAX WKND in Kigali, Afreximbank announced a $500 million creative industry support fund. Yesterday, it credited Zimbabwe with $250m.
The absence of collaterals is not an impediment. “When we put the money out there, you’d see the interests come,” Oramah explains. “Governments have approached us,” he says, mentioning a deal with Malawi and an ongoing one with Nigeria. “We’ve taken time to understand how Exim Media supported Bollywood. We are creating an ecosystem. We’ll build a database for all creatives in Africa and we’ll build a platform for it.”
“We want to make it easy for that artist, that musician, that folklorist who has something to sell to have access to a market,” Oramah says. “We will create a digital platform where they can upload it. The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System will allow Africans to pay for what is in the platform in their national currencies. That will be the big game changer.”
Here at Folio Nigeria, our vision aligns with Afreximbank’s and is demonstrated through our CAX platform.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist, and curator. He is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture, art, photography, business, activism, and health. He has vast experience working in literature. He has sat on the judging panels of The Gerald Kraak Prize and of The Morland Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria's first queer art collective, and Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. For three years, Nov. 2016 to Apr. 2020, he led the transformation of the literary blog Brittle Paper into a continental powerhouse, ideating and administering The Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians." He completed a collection of short stories in 2016 and his novel in 2020. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.