Tony Elumelu Foundation signs MoU to invest $100m in the Nigerian creative industry

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The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Wednesday, 5th of October signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the National Theatre, Iganmu – Lagos to invest the sum of $100 million for the development of the creative and arts industry in Nigeria.

This idea was borne out of a question posed to the Tony Elumelu Foundation by Minister Lai Mohammed when he asked how his ministry can work with them to help transform the currently underdeveloped and unstructured creative industry ecosystem into an organized and profitable pool of creative industries that provide meaningful employment to thousands of Nigerians.

The result of that challenge is this public-private partnership we are seeing today. The proponent of the concept and Chief Executive Officer of Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and a seasoned filmmaker herself, Ms. Parminder Vir, at the event highlighted the importance of creative arts to the national economy by bringing to our attention in figures the potential of the creative arts industry in Nigeria. In her words: “The film industry in Nigeria’s total worth is estimated between at $50oM to $1B, and it provides jobs for millions of people.

Unfortunately, most of this money is not retained in the economy. If there are structures in place, most of this will be retained to drive the economy. Millions of dollars are lost through piracy because of lack of structured channels of distribution. This and other things is what the MoU will seek to address.”

“We cannot afford to ignore the incredible opportunities in the Nigerian Creative Industry. The music sector currently is worth over $250M with the potential to grow to over $450 in the next ten years, and it provides more than 50% of African music contents across several platforms. Of course, MoUs are easy to sign, but it is the implementation that is the hard part. First, the precise definition of what is creative industry is, ascertained.”


During the signing, Hon. Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, “My Ministry recognises the urgent need to develop Nigeria’s creative industries and increase its contribution to the national economy. Nigeria currently has creative industries but no creative economy. This partnership will leverage the experience of the private sector to help the creative industries retain the commercial opportunity and the financial benefits.”

“It is in the realisation of the potential of this sector that I have gone on record calling the creative industry as well as tourism the new oil for Nigeria. “The creative industry has turned around the fortunes of California, Mumbai, Turkey, Dubai Australia among others, and we can replicate the same here with the support of partners like the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”

Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and UBA Plc Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON also had this to say at the event “Without doubt, Nollywood is a global leader and our young musicians are emerging as international sensations with serious earning potential.  Nigerians are good at starting creative businesses, but they lack the capacity to scale, proper business management and the investment necessary to become self-sustaining. This partnership will provide the framework for building business capacity and attracting sustainable investment.”

He added that the sector which has not been encouraged would contribute 1.3% of the GDP which is about $6 billion in the future and would contribute even more with policy incentives.

The partnership ultimately aims to provide a framework for bringing creative industry stakeholders together with investors, financiers and business leaders to transform the creativity of industry entrepreneurs into a profitable sector capable of attracting international collaboration and contributing consistently to the national economy.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation

Present at the symbolic event where veterans in the industry like Joke Silva, Zeb Ejiro, Obi Asika, Ali Baba, D’Banj, Chioma Ude, Nimi AkinkugbeRalph Nwadike, Chude Jideonwo, Audu Maikori, Dolapo Oni Sijuwade just to mention a few.


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