Chris Steven, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has made a strong pitch for Nigeria to embrace the growing Animation technology in order to benefit from what has become a $300-billion industry and which represents 25% of the global audiovisual market.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 7th African Digital TV Development Seminar in Beijing, China, on Monday, the Minister said a developed animation industry in Nigeria will be a boost to the country’s already-established entertainment industry and make the country an outsourcing destination for global animation services.
While noting that ”American animation has developed as the country’s sixth largest pillar industry; he said animation industry has outperformed automobile in Japan with iron and steel industries to be the third largest industry.
He added that South Korea has undertaken nearly one third of the global animation production business saying “most of the segments in the animation industry are growing at the rate of 10% Year over Year, and some segments are growing at 15% Year on Year”.
”The output value of global animation industry has reached over US$300 billion, and animation related derivatives have exceeded US$500 billion. The animation industry has gradually become a pillar of the national economy and a new economic growth engine in some countries,’’ he said.
The Minister said Nigeria, and indeed Africa, must move to grab a share of the pie by tapping into the animation boom, adding that Nigeria, in particular, has all the ingredients for a successful animation industry.
”Nigeria has a ready domestic audience and market. Nigeria has about 86.2 million people online, and that’s 46.1% of the population, ranking it number one in Africa and number seven in the world. It has 44 million TV viewing homes in the country. Nigeria is expected to switch over to digital broadcasting when all 44 million homes have to invest in purchasing Set-Top Boxes.
”In addition, Nigeria’s telecommunication industry has grown to $25 billion, and active lines are said to be well over 113 million, in comparison with 450,000 people and $500 million investment portfolio in year 2000, again ranking it no. 1 in Africa and 11th in the world.
“Nigeria’s smartphone penetration is estimated at 15.5 million. 70% of the population are below 30 years of age, about 50% are below 20 (approximately 80 million), and over 40% of the total population are children under 14 (over 70 million), while about 20% of the population are teens (approx. 30 million). These demographics amply demonstrate that the uptake of animated content is already guaranteed,’’ he said.
The Minister also said the Nigerian film industry, ranked third in the world; the possession of a treasure trove of literature, brimming with exciting classics such as a Forest of a Thousand Daemons,…The Lion and the Jewel, The Passport of Mallam Illia and Things Fall Apart, and the fact that the country has an English-speaking workforce, provide added advantage.
He said the current administration is committed to developing the animation/creative industry into a new growth sector by promoting Nigeria’s creativity, and creating a highly-skilled workforce for the industry.
”Already, it has created a programme called N-POWER CREATIVE, a job creation and empowerment initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purpose of training and encouraging the development of creative and technological skills in young Nigerians such as animation, graphic illustration, script writing, storytelling, sequential arts, and post production.
”With such skills, young Nigerians will be able to find employment in the ever-growing creative and animation industry. Its target will be to equip about 15,000 creative industry professionals across story/script writing, graphics/ illustration, animation, post production by 2017, and that figure should rise to 75,000 by 2020 year end,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said.