Nigeria’s Nollywood has been acclaimed as the second largest film industry in the world. The sector provides entertainment and generates significant revenue for the country’s economy. It happens to be one of the most prolific film producers in the world and one of the largest employers of labour in Nigeria after agriculture. Nollywood is seen as one of the viable sectors through which the Nigerian economy can diversify.
In 2016, Nollywood accounted for N853.9bn(1.42 per cent) of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2018, 0.21 per cent of the GDP, which was valued at about N270bn, was accounted for by the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, including Nollywood. By the first quarter of 2019, the industry garnered about 0.27 per cent of the GDP, which was valued at N87bn.
In addition to the contribution of Nollywood is the contribution by the Nigerian box office. The box office realised N4.3bn in 2017 and this amount is projected to grow to about N6.4bn by 2022.
The impact of Nollywood is visible. Movie production in Nigeria employs up to a million people annually; hence its recognition as the second largest industry with a high employment rate. The industry is no doubt making a difference given its contribution towards the Nigerian economy and job creation prospects. The World Bank had applauded this.
Actor and producer, Charles Awurum, said, “If for nothing else, Nollywood has created thousands of jobs for so many Nigerians. The industry is open to all who are talented in all areas of the motion picture industry.
“It has drastically prevented and reduced the crime rate in the country, put food on people’s table – and the multiplier effect is tremendous. It is an industry that, if given the enabling environment, will be the country’s number one revenue earner. It has improved the lifestyles of Nigerians.”
Undoubtedly, the Nigerian film industry has a lot of under-utilised prospects for economic growth.
Ranked as the second largest film industry after India’s Bollywood, Nollywood has a high movie production capacity, which led to the spread of Nigerian movies within and outside Africa.
A lot of Nollywood stars have received national and international recognition for their innovation and hard work. Among them is Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, who was recognised by TIME magazine as one of the most influential people alongside personalities like Michelle Obama, Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kate Middleton. She was also invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science (Oscars)along with 927 others and was honoured by the United Nations in 2018 as one of the most influential people of African descent. More recently is the success recorded by Genevieve Nnaji’s directing debut, Lion Heart, which became the first movie to be acquired by the American streaming service, Netflix, in Nigeria. Further, the movie was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. This feat succeeded in raising the ranks of Nollywood.
Likewise, the movie director, KunleAfolayan, who won five prestigious awards for his movie, TheFigurine, at the African Film Academy. He has represented Nollywood at the Subversive Film Festival in Croatia where Nollywood was cited as the second largest movie industry in the world. His movie, Phone Swap, also made huge revenue for the box office after premiering in Paris and France.
Diversity in the Nigerian movie industry has been aided by the multilingual nature of the country. Movies are produced in various indigenous languages including Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The industry is replete with numerous skillful and outstanding personalities who continuously infuse cultural diversity and creativity into it.
The Nigerian movie industry is obviously more than mere entertainment; it is also a source of revenue generation for the economy and a job creation form. Digital technology has aided the growth and development of the industry and has helped to bring Nollywood movies into international limelight. The various distribution channels such as the most recently instituted NetflixNaija, Iroko TV, EbonyLifeTV andNdaniTV have contributed to the popularity of the Nigerian film industry; hence meeting consumer expectations and digital trends.