Ramnin Toloui, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Economic and Business Affairs, has predicted that Nigeria’s creative industries could generate $100 billion in revenue by 2030. Speaking at the Africa Creative Market Conference in Lagos, Toloui also suggested that the industry, if properly harnessed, could create up to 2.7 million jobs by 2050.
The conference, focused on intellectual property (IP) protection, was organised by the U.S. Consulate in Lagos in partnership with Ascend Foundation Studios. Toloui emphasised the significance of IP protection and enforcement in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within the creative sector.
Toloui highlighted the substantial growth of the Nigerian creative industry, noting that American actors now show interest in Nigerian movies. He attributed this success to the increasing demand for Nigerian content from the global African diaspora. This has led to a rise in the export of African content through digital streaming and international touring, as well as increased investments in early-stage creator economy startups.
He expressed the U.S. government’s support for strengthening ties in the creative industries between the United States and Nigeria. Toloui explained, “Bringing both countries closer together and furthering investment opportunities in the film and television, music, arts, sports, gaming, and tech arenas.”
The U.S. government aims to partner with stakeholders across the creative ecosystem to help grow the creative economy. This includes a focus on intellectual property protection to enable creators to monetize their work and attract additional investment.
Toloui justified the focus on creative industries by citing their substantial economic contribution. The cultural sector alone accounts for 3.1% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, creative industries generate over $2 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 50 million jobs worldwide.
Toloui stressed that robust IP rights regimes establish secure legal frameworks for investment and commercialisation of innovation and creativity, creating value and jobs beyond the creative sector. He commended Nigeria for its investment in the growth of the creative industries through the newly announced Destination 2030 Initiative.
The creative industries employ a significant number of young people, especially those aged 15 to 29, with nearly half of the creative workforce being women. Many U.S. film and entertainment companies, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Paramount, are making substantial investments in the Nigerian market and foresee strong prospects for future investments.
Toloui concluded, “Nigeria is a powerhouse of creativity, and we stand in steadfast partnership with all of you in this room to support the conditions that allow creatives to thrive. I want to see many more investments and increased commercial ties. It serves us all to support a sector that is creating equitable opportunity for all.”