The Nigerian creative economy has the potential and power to generate billions of dollars annually to boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create millions of jobs, particularly for the youth, given the right policies, incentives, and investments.

This revelation emerged during the 2023 “Art Tech Lagos,” organized by Afrilabs, a pan-African innovation organization. The event acted as a gathering point for creative Nigerian youths in arts and technology, aimed at shedding light on the various opportunities within the value chain for investments in the creative economy.

Ann Ekeledo, the Executive Director of Afrilabs, celebrated Nigeria as a nation rich in talents across music, comedy, writing, fashion, and dance. She outlined her organisation’s objective to collaborate with key stakeholders, including governments, to drive investments and commercialise the creative economy.

The goal she said, is to ensure that creatives receive maximum benefits from their work and contribute significantly to the country’s GDP. Ekeledo also emphasised that the sector could potentially create millions of jobs, addressing the pressing issue of youth unemployment in the country.

She stated, “African creatives have become a soft power globally, with Nigerian music, films, and fashion making waves worldwide. Our aim is to make this sector financially viable and encourage stakeholders, including the government, to recognize its critical role in social and economic growth.”

To bolster the creative economy, stakeholders advocated for policies that protect intellectual property, provide infrastructure and technology support for quality work production, offer subsidies for filmmakers to reduce production costs, and establish a marketplace for practitioners.

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Dr. Itoro Emembolu, a board member of Afrilabs, stressed the importance of creative collaboration and online presence to enhance economic viability. He called for the development of indigenous social media platforms to benefit local creatives and urged the creation of more local content, as online content quantity directly influences revenue.

In his keynote address, prominent reality TV show judge, Obi Asika, highlighted the need for Nigeria to place greater value on its creative and cultural works, including traditional festivals and films. He referred to these as among the world’s most original and significant cultural assets.

Asika proposed that properly packaging and promoting these contents, particularly through television, could unlock the billion-dollar industry’s potential.

He stated, “TV remains the most potent platform for marketing creative content. TV stations should focus on content creation, which is more profitable, rather than merely selling airtime.”

The event united influential figures in Nigeria’s creative landscape, including creative director and choreographer Kaffy and Efe Omorogbe, who shared insights on value chain opportunities within the music industry.

The African creative economy encompasses various rapidly growing sectors, including music, film, literature, art, fashion, and digital media. It contributes significantly to the continent’s economy, generating about US$4.2 billion in revenue and outpacing other sectors in growth rate.