The creative industry in Africa is undergoing a remarkable renaissance and has evolved into a powerhouse serving as the catalyst for transformative change. From art and music to fashion and film, these platforms are reshaping the landscape of African creativity.
As the continent's creative talents gain global recognition, they are no longer limited by geographical constraints or resource scarcity not only in terms of cultural expression but also as a substantial source of employment. This sector, encompassing digital creation, film, music, and fashion, has provided livelihoods for countless young talents across the continent.
Africa's creative and cultural industry is now a formidable economic force, boasting a revenue of approximately $4.2 billion and exhibiting a growth rate that surpasses that of many other sectors on the continent.
In 2021, UNESCO published a survey of Africa's film and audio-visual industries. The findings painted a sobering picture, revealing a sector struggling with insufficient funding and underdevelopment. Presently, the industry employs about five million individuals and contributes $5 billion to the continent's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This underscores both the industry's immense potential for expansion and the pressing need for investment and nurturing of its vast creative talents. Moreso, it has become a global conduit for African culture, particularly emanating from Nigeria.
Fueling this remarkable growth is the emergence of technology-driven platforms dedicated to nurturing and empowering African creatives. These platforms have effectively dismantled barriers to entry, allowing artists to create, market, and monetize their talents with minimal financial resources. They have become instrumental in addressing the multifaceted challenges that creative minds face, thereby catalyzing the transformation of the industry into what we now call the "creator economy."
Many of these transformative platforms were conceived by creatives themselves, individuals who recognized the industry's gaps and set out to bridge them. In doing so, they have provided invaluable support and a wealth of opportunities for emerging and established talents to thrive as full-time creatives. These platforms are the driving force behind the seismic shifts in Africa's creative landscape, reshaping the way artists connect with their audiences and monetize their art.
These platforms are not merely tools; they are catalysts for innovation, empowerment, and economic sustainability within the vibrant world of African creativity.
TalentX refers to itself as Africa's first film-financing marketplace, the platform is bridging the gap between creatives and investors by implementing structures that de-risk creative financing. By enabling investors to fund authentic and viable African content, they are "creating impact-one story at a time".
Co-founded by Victoria Popoola and Imole Ezekiel in 2021, the startup is building key financial infrastructure for the creative industry. By making film investments safer, they unlock non-collateralized financing and new liquidity channels for creatives.
"The more significant revenue opportunities currently come from streaming, with cinemas helping to drive streaming leverage depending on performance. TalentX has invested close to $1 million in Nollywood movies," says Victoria.
Wowzi was co-founded by Brian Mogeni, Mike Otieno, and Dr. Hassan Bashir in 2020. This platform revolutionizes the concept of influence marketing. It connects regular social media users with major brands, offering nano and micro creators the opportunity to earn income by sharing brand messages on their social media channels.
Wowzi operates as a user-friendly online marketplace where ordinary consumers and avid fans can receive compensation for providing authentic endorsements for products they genuinely adore.
It's actively cultivating trusted influencer networks and fostering niche communities both online and offline. According to Brian Mogeni, the platform is dedicated to assisting up-and-coming content creators in monetizing their social media presence through micro jobs and online gigs initiated by brands.
Presently, the platform boasts a robust community of over 70,000 influencers in East Africa, where it has a significant presence. Wowzi's vision is to empower creators and consumers alike, bridging the gap between passion and income in the world of online influence.
In Africa, fashion has transcended traditional apparel design and trendsetting; it now serves as a channel for creative self-expression and a conduit to share culture worldwide. However, this dynamic industry faces hurdles like cross-border digital payments and logistical complexities in shipping. That's where Ananse Africa stepped in to empower fashion designers, and seamlessly integrate technology into the world of fashion.
Ananse Africa stands as the ultimate marketplace for authentic African, independent artisans, and brands to showcase their work both locally and on the global stage. Offering comprehensive support, the platform includes product training, quality assurance, online payment processing, and efficient packaging solutions for these talents.
What sets Ananse Africa apart is its commitment to fostering direct communication between customers and designers, allowing inquiries and personalized interactions that elevate the shopping experience to a futuristic level. With a solution like this, Ananse Africa is building the intersection of tech and fashion, bringing Africa's creative fashion industry to new heights.
The startup which was founded in 2020 by Samuel Mensah supports local supply chains across 12 African countries, empowering SMEs that are 70% women-led.
In September 2023, the skill-to-market platform expanded its offerings with the launch of the Creative Economy School, a significant step taken less than two years after securing $1 million in pre-seed funding. Nifemi Akinwamide, the startup's head of growth and partnership emphasised that talent, beyond just tech skills, has always been at the core of their mission. While they began with a focus on technology, their ultimate goal was to elevate the careers of 10 million Africans, ensuring financial prosperity and employability in both tech and non-tech sectors.
This commitment prompted the company to venture into another aspect of the burgeoning creator economy, including music. Under this new vertical, the school provides short courses in content creation, sales, and music business, allowing students to earn certificates within a six-week timeframe. This move is crucial to bridging the talent gap in Africa, especially considering that universities often fall short in preparing students for the demands of the contemporary job market.
Selar is a multifaceted e-commerce tool tailored to creators and entrepreneurs looking to expand their reach on a global scale. This platform serves as a versatile marketplace, enabling users to market and sell a diverse range of content, products, and services worldwide.
Founded by Douglas Kendyson in 2016, the platform was initially designed to cater to non-registered business owners seeking international sales opportunities. Selar has evolved into a Shopify-like platform, streamlining the entire commerce process, and with it, users can effortlessly construct their own mini-e-commerce websites, complete with a comprehensive array of features, including product offerings, upsells, cross-sells, newsletter integrations, CRM capabilities, analytics tools, affiliate marketing options, and a user-friendly checkout page.
The platform facilitates transactions in six different currencies, accommodating users in Naira, Dollars, Pounds, Cedis, Kenyan Shillings, and Rands. Selar caters to a diverse spectrum of digital creators, encompassing coaches, consultants, educators, online vendors, marketers, artists, and creators of all kinds. Its remarkable capabilities are empowering creators and entrepreneurs across Africa and beyond.
emPawa Africa, founded by Afrobeats musician; Oluwole Ajibade aka Mr. Eazi in November 2018 and began operation in 2019 as a talent incubation initiative to nurture and support up-and-coming artists in Africa. It stands as a beacon for budding artists, equipping them with essential tools, knowledge, networks, and investment to expand their music beyond Africa's borders. This program is meticulously crafted to foster the next generation of African musicians, offering mentorship and a generous $3,000 grant.
According to Mr. Eazi, his inspiration for launching emPawa, revealed a desire to create an incubator-style platform for music, similar to his earlier venture in the mobile phone trading industry. His vision was to blend philanthropy with incubation, fostering emerging musical talents.
It stands as a testament to Africa's burgeoning creative force, propelling its music onto the global stage.
Natalie Narh and Nigel Atta-Mensah, both hailing from Ghana co-founded New Comma in 2020. This platform is best described as a comprehensive hub for African creatives and those seeking their talents. It functions as a unique social media platform that reimagines the concept of Africa's talent directory. New Coma has essentially created an ecosystem where creatives can seamlessly connect, collaborate, gain knowledge, and prosper alongside numerous other visionaries who are actively shaping the future of the creative economy.
The vibrant community is dedicated to empowering emerging talents of African and Black heritage as they enter the creative industry. Its core mission is to provide these budding artists with essential resources, career opportunities, and a platform to showcase their work on both local and global stages.
This invaluable platform goes beyond a mere showcase; it acts as a nexus for agencies and influential figures within the industry to offer mentorship and support to these gifted individuals.
Beyond just being a platform; it's a thriving ecosystem that nurtures the growth and development of Africa's creative talent, facilitating their journey towards success.