Entertainment Industry: A Vital Piece of Nigeria’s Economic Puzzle’

Given its impact on changing the country’s global image and its huge potential to bring major economic benefits, Nigeria’s entertainment sector can become a very relevant piece of the country’s economic puzzle. 

Given its impact on changing the country’s global image and its huge potential to bring major economic benefits, Nigeria’s entertainment sector can become a very relevant piece of the country’s economic puzzle. 

Worth over USD5 billion and producing more films than Hollywood, Nollywood is today the second-largest movie industry in the world by volume after Bollywood and contributes 5% to Nigeria’s GDP. It is also the second-largest employer in the country, proving its huge socio-economic impact. Through Nollywood movies, Nigerians have been able to influence viewers worldwide and export the “Nigerianness”: their culture, their lifestyle and even their accent.

Nigeria’s music industry, on the other hand, has yet to hit Nollywood’s numbers, but within less than a decade it, too, has become an exceptional global phenomenon: in London, capital of the second-largest music market in the world, the rise of what many call UK afrobeats or Afro Bashment, a mix of hip hop and African sounds largely Nigerian-inspired, has revolutionized the music industry across the country. 

Major British artists of Nigerian or West African roots, some more established like Skepta, others more recently-emerging like J-Hus and Not3s, have helped further expose the Nigerian sound to the world by initiating important collaborations with Nigerian musicians like Wizkid, arguably the continent’s most famous singer, and other artistes like Mr Eazi and Maleek Berry. 2018 also saw a key new collaboration between Nigeria’s Burnaboy and internationally-acclaimed pop star Lily Allen.

Entertainment is today one of the country’s main expressions of soft power, a country’s persuasive approach to international relations through its economic, cultural, and media influence in order to gain positive attraction. 

 “Afrobeat is putting Nigeria on the global map in a positive light. When you think about Afrobeat, the first country you think of is Nigeria. The top Afrobeat artists are from here. Our music is one of our proudest exports,” said Falz the Bahd Guy, one of Nigeria’s foremost rappers, during an interview with TBY. He added: “The coming to prominence of afrobeat worldwide is unbelievable. Now more than ever, many African songs and artists are being played all over the world. I travelled to Iran, for example, and African music was being played. It is amazing.

According to PwC, Nigeria’s entertainment and media sector will be the fastest-growing in the world between 2017 and 2020. This is in spite of the country’s many challenges, from piracy to a lack of industry structure. One can only imagine the potential socio-economic impact of entertainment if more investment is spurred and the right policies are implemented. The government, too, has recognized it must take the entertainment business seriously by including entertainment in its top priorities in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.