The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called for Nigeria to welcome the animation technology in order to share in the $300 billion industry, representing 25 percent of global audiovisual market.

The minister said this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 7th African Digital TV Development Seminar in Beijing, China, admitting that a grown animation industry in Nigeria would mean a boost to the country’s thriving entertainment industry and also enabling the country to become an outsourcing destination for world animation services.

”American animation has developed as America’s sixth largest pillar industry; in Japan, the animation industry has outperformed automobile, iron & steel industries to be the third largest industry; and South Korea has undertaken nearly one third of the global animation production business. 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,’’ Mohammed said.

He however maintained that Nigeria, and Africa, must endeavor to take their share by engaging the flourishing animation business, admitting that Nigeria is in possession of all the ingredients necessary 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,’’  Mohammed said.

The Minister also recounted that Nigerian film industry is positioned as the third in the world. He noted that the country has a lot of literary treasures, with wonderfully interesting masterpieces, like Forest of a Thousand Daemons, The Lion and the Jewel, The Passport of Mallam Illia and Things Fall Apart. The English-speaking status of the country too, according to the minister, is an added advantage.

He made it obvious that the current administration was devoted to growing the animation/creative industry into a new sector with emphasis on the promotion of Nigeria’s creativity which would enable the creation of 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,’’  Mohammed maintained.

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