Believe it or not, it is culture, with agriculture claiming the top spot. Nigeria produces almost as many films as Bollywood, at more than 50 per week, with each film employing more than a hundred people. It is not surprising therefore that the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) is worth almost US$ 4 billion.
Africa is rich in talent and creativity, but we don’t get to see much of it (yet). The pool of talent cannot be commercialised due to the lack of crucial infrastructure. Africa’s world of Music, Art, Fashion, Literature, Design isn’t managing to go global, yet it could be a vast contributor to the continent’s economy.
The African Arts Institute, the European Union and UNESCO’s National Commission (among others) have found that culture “contributes substantially to development at national level, fostering economic growth”. A 5-year study, concluded in 2013, found that culture could be as important as a source of income as tourism. And so, as of this year, and thanks to UNESCO’s findings, governments in Africa can now be “officially” persuaded to start giving priority to the type of infrastructure that will facilitate artists to bring their work to the masses.
I expect that Africa’s big transformation in the upcoming years will therefore not just be economic but also cultural. And I for one can’t wait to see what’s going to hit the world when it does.