The creative industry comprising of the advertising, architecture, the arts and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, performing arts, publishing, software, television, and radio can bridge the unemployment gap in Nigeria if commercial banks in the country are much more receptive to financing them, says Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa – with a fast-growing investment in technology, film, arts and fashion sectors. The industry accounted for about 2.3 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2016, approximately N239 billion. However, that has more than doubled in recent years, rapidly becoming another panacea for reducing unemployment and diversifying the economy.
According to the federal government, the country’s unemployment rate will reach an alarming 33.5 percent in 2020, with a high unemployment rate of 23.1 percent, and underemployment of 16.6 percent. While data reveals that more jobs are being created in the entertainment sector – and the majority of these jobs are formed by digitally-engaged, freelance creatives between the ages of 18 – 40 years old – a growing segment of young entrepreneurs continue to find it difficult to access the necessary tools for business growth and self-empowerment.
In the wake of the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), which is a Central Bank of Nigeria Initiative, Access Bank opened its window to disbursing loans to beneficiaries. The loan, with a maximum interest rate of 9 percent per annum, has a repayment period of 10 years. Focused on Fashion, Information Technology, Movie Production, Movie Distribution, Music, and Software Engineering Student Loan, the initiative is aimed at supporting capacity building and employment creation for individuals and businesses.
The Bank has also empowered young and budding filmmakers through the Accelerate Film project. The beneficiaries of the mentorship programme were given the opportunity to exhibit their films at the most prominent film festival on the continent, the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
It is predicted that in the next five years, the Creative Industry Financing Initiative will provide more young Nigerians access to capture a significant market share of a $10.7 billion global music industry. In line with the Bank’s five-year strategy of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world, Access Bank has promised to make the scheme a success, reflecting its position as Africa’s leading financial institution, and an essential partner in promoting the vibrant creative spirit that abounds in Nigeria and Africa.