Centurion Law Group, a pan-African corporate law conglomerate, has said that Africa’s sports, media and entertainment industries will gain immensely from the African Continental Free Trade Area pact.
In a statement made available to Financial Street by APO Group on Thursday, Centurion Law Group said, “African content competes favourably on the radio and streaming networks on a global scale, spurring key investments from media giants like Disney and Netflix.”
The continent is also a major contributor in the world sports industry, particularly in consumption and talent exportation, the group maintained.
It added that what needed to be done was to centre discussion on how AfCFTA and intra-African collaboration could be best employed to secure the future of the industries.
According to the pan-African conglomerate, the continent needs to develop local industrialisation, production and distribution infrastructure for the consumption of sports, media and entertainment, noting this as key to the success of AfCFTA.
It said, “For example, the music industry today is primarily dominated by streaming consumers, and with the rise of movie streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon TV, the film industry is leaning towards this model as well. From the onset of the digital revolution, China was branded ‘isolationist’ for regulating the entrance of businesses like Google and Facebook into the country to give local alternatives a chance to develop.
“This move may have been branded as a security move, but it has also proven to be an economic boon to Chinese competitors in these spaces. With this agreement, the time is ripe to develop African digital infrastructure to leverage the continent’s human resource in industries like music and film where there is already an appreciable global presence. It is indeed the right time to create our own entertainment giants!”
The law group also suggested that, in the sports arena, rather than constantly exporting the continent’s best talents, local investment in sports like football could provide the required infrastructure to ensure that African athletes thrive right here on the continent.
“This will serve to effectively reduce talent flight, a major challenge in the industry today. It could eventually place African leagues at par with the popular European leagues where so many players of African descent consistently perform excellently,” it said.
Although, it was too early to gauge how the AfCFTA will affect the sports and entertainment industry, since the agreement is still in its early stages of implementation, the group observed.
“One thing is for sure, though; any initiative that welcomes the free movement of goods and services within Africa and promotes intra-African investments and cooperation on intellectual property rights is a huge step in the right direction for a continent with much to benefit from greater economic integration,” it added.