In Summary
  • Hollywood owns the global box office. But when it comes to the sheer number of movies made, the laurel goes to Nollywood.
  • Ultra-modern mobile phone systems can do everything to help businesses pay salaries and register sales as well as assist local governments to collect taxes. Big Data analytics can help de-bottleneck traffic.

Genocidal slaughter in the Central African Republic. Civil war in South Sudan, pitting Dinka and Nuer tribesmen in yet another age-old conflict. Famine threatening northern Kenya and the Sahel, leaving millions dependent on dwindling international aid.

So goes one more chapter in the story of Africa that we have come to know and hate. Against the drum-beat of bad news, we too often forget the other story — the good news, if you will. And yet it is there in abundance, almost everywhere you care to look. Put aside the cliche of a ‘rising Africa’ and the continent’s accelerating economic emergence, true as it might be. Instead, let us look at just three examples of where Africa is not merely emerging but dominating.

Hollywood owns the global box office. But when it comes to the sheer number of movies made, the laurel goes to Nollywood. In recent years Nigeria’s film industry has become the second-largest in the world, ahead of the US and behind only India. By various accounts, some 300 producers churn out 50 or so new titles each week, generating an estimated $600 million yearly and employing more than one million people.

BACK-HANDED COMPLIMENT

Incredibly, the movie business has become the country’s No. 2 jobs-generator, after agriculture. And while Hollywood turns out films at an average cost of $250 million, Nigerian producers do so on as little as $25,000. Most are made in less than a month and are profitable within a few weeks of release, according to the magazine Africa Renewal.

They have to be. Why? Because pirates so quickly distribute them across Africa. In its way, that’s a back-handed compliment. Nollywood owes its tremendous popularity to both its speed and, more importantly, everyday relevance. For Nollywood is the stuff of everyday African life. Small wonder that Nollywood stars are known across the continent. They are the face of a modern Africa — home-grown, not imported.

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