World Bank has declared its intention to spend $US30 million on the film and music industry of Nigeria. This is a 100 per cent equity support to Nollywood and musicians in the country.
Chioma Nwagboso, Finance & Private Sector Development Unit, World Bank, made this disclosure at the conference organized by the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in partnership withInstitute of Technology and the Berman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Nwagboso speaking at the event which attracted the heavyweights in the film industry and other stakeholders said the world apex bank is ready to support Nollywood the little way it can.
According to her, “Bank has some money available for movie and music industry. We want to support four areas, access to finance, distribution and marketing channels, capacity building and helping to solve piracy.”
She disclosed that when the World Bank visited some local banks last year to know why they were not supporting the Nollywood projects, the banks claimed they did not understand how to get their money back adding that it was a risky venture. And if they do not see payback period, it becomes difficult for them to lend.”
Meanwhile, the President, DBI, Professor Raymond Akwule commenting on the topic “Enhancing the Nigerian Film Industry through ICT Education, Training and Enlightenment”, held in Lagos, said the conference was convened to find out how Information Communications Technology, ICT can help improve some aspects of the Nigerian film industry.
Akwule said, “Some people talked about how we can help them digitize content and through this digitization, producers can actually take charge of their own products and then work through contractual agreement with marketers and distributors.”
He however gave kudos to Nolloywood, noting that the film industry has been phenomenal. “I really respect what they do. For people who have very little resources, these are independent film producers who with their little resources are able to perform wonders actually on film. I really respect what they do.”
However, the professor while acknowledging the achievements of Nollywood said the industry still need a lot of help, so that what they do can be made a whole lot better “and because I’m in the area of ICT, I think that we can use ICT to improve what they already do well,” he noted.
The DBI president said the conference was an exploration to find out “which of these prescriptions about the new media actually help them enhance what they do. There is not one solution, what we are presenting is the possibilities, then you (film makers) can choose from any them and see what matches your own particular goal.”
On his part, Tunde Kelani, a renowned film maker, noted that the use of ICT is not new to Nigerian film makers since Nolloywood has long embraced the new technologies.
“ICT use is not really new to Nigerian film makers, one way or the other we have seen the impact of computer, motion application in motion picture production. After all we all have access to word processor, script writing software, accounting software among others. We used to work in analogue, but when digital came we adapted quickly and moved along with working with it. But other technologies have developed since then especially the impact of internet and Nigeria cannot be in isolation to the rest of the world.
“We have to look at new market and new opportunities and how we can complement what we are doing, the way we are doing it and begin to look into the future because there is no doubt that we are in the digital era and we have to be part of the new technology,” he said.
However, Kelani decried the lack of adequate infrastructure in the country which has continued to have negative impact on the film industry.
“Its very difficult because whichever way you turn you will run against the barrier of lack of the necessary infrastructure to back you up, example there is no electricity, no good roads, internet penetration is low, that is part of the problems of lack of infrastructure, but we will continue to look at all the options and continue to try to make a living,” he said.