Stakeholders in the Nigeria’s entertainment industry, led by the Lagos Business School (LBS), advertising practitioners and film makers have come together to explore opportunities that will bring more investment to the industry, they collectively agreed is capable of reducing Nigeria unemployment problem to the minimum.
The occasion was the Lagos International Executive-MBA Week, themed: ‘Playing to win in Africa’, Exploring Business Opportunities in Nigeria,’ aimed at fostering cultural immersion and expose participants to the culture, values and business environment in Nigeria and Africa at large
Speaking on LBS intervention in the entertainment industry, Academic Director, International EMBA Week and Director MBA, Lagos Business School, Dr. Uchenna Uzo, said the focus this year is to celebrate the creative industry of Nigeria and to discuss the implications for Africa.
“We have participants who came from other countries who know about Nollywood and the Nigerian music industry but who know very little about the business parts of it. What we have done is to invite industry guests who can expose them to what it takes to invest in this industry and to export our productivity and creativity to other parts of Africa and the world
While restating the facts that this is an industry that has very little funding from government and the private sector, yet has been able to build something that is rated as the second largest in the world, Uzo said that with time, more education, more investment and more infrastructures, Nigeria’s entertainment industry will be able to make wider impact and produce movies that can have a stronger appeal globally.
“What it will take to elevate the industry, apart from funding, is to help build the educational infrastructure that will help the artiste and other people to come in. Right now, Nollywood is an all comers affair, where anybody can come in at any time without necessarily having the needed skills and abilities.
“ So, we need that kind of training and developing partnership with schools and institutions that are used to film making and productions. We have the raw talent; all they need is the help, support and the expertise to help them improve on their productivity,” Uzo said.
Speaking on the music industry, Chief Executive Office, X3M Group, Steve Babaeko, while explaining why government and other stakeholders need to pay attention to the industry, said that apart from farming, the creative industry is the second largest employer of labour in any the country, adding that the creative industry is also the biggest public relations tool which the government should explore and develop because of the potentials and catalysts for youth employment.
He said that if a big company like Nike can collaborate with an artist called Wizkid, released a jersey called ‘Starboy’, which sold out in less than 10 minutes, then it is worth paying attention.
“For every Wizkid you produce you are taking 50 to a 100 young men off the street, the same thing for Davido, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, and this is because when they roll, they don’t roll alone, they roll with stylists, makeup artistes, road managers, business managers. They roll with these full compliments.
“Now we have an opportunity to create mass job but we are not taking advantage of the opportunity. The music and entertainment industry is the only industry that is not backed up by government funds, the banks or any investor group but it has taken Nigeria to the world,” he said.
He said Nigeria’s music industry is by far bigger than that of South Africa but because we do not have structures to actually evaluate it, South Africa on paper seemed to be bigger than that of Nigeria.