Africa Connected with Standard Bank

Nollywood, exporting culture to the world

Making her way through Nigeria for Standard Bank’s Africa Connected, Pan-African journalist Lee Kusumba explores Nollywood, the third largest film industry in the world.

Considered Nigeria's second largest employer next to agriculture – at an estimated annual income of $50 billion, it's hard to believe that Nollywood still remains unregulated by the government despite having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012.

It's still an informal sector... we really don't have metrics to measure.

Chimike Onwuchekwa, film director in Nollywood

Read: Nollywood has become Nigeria’s second largest employer

Although it is plagued by piracy and, struggling to measure its financial contribution – the film industry is widely considered to be one of the main contributing industries that helped gain Nigeria status as Africa's fastest growing economy.

Most times, you'll find that a lot of Nollywood films are being pirated.

Chimike Onwuchekwa, film director in Nollywood

Read: Nigeria is oil. But it's also agriculture and, of course, Nollywood

But, whilst it appears to be thriving – a lack of financial investment means that the time on set of a Nollywood film is significantly shorter in comparison to that of Hollywood films.

This means, depending on the format for which films are produced, the time spent filming can range from one week to just six months on set. "If you look at the finances, many times we don't have enough funds to do what we want to do," says Onwuchekwa.

Our greatest export is our culture.

Chimike Onwuchekwa, film director in Nollywood

The world can learn a thing or two from Nollywood...

"If you allow other people to tell your stories, they tell them in whichever way they perceive it. If Africa begins telling its stories, then of course, the narrative about Africa will change," says Onwuchekwa.

Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Lee Kasumba's full interview with Onwuchekwa...


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