Nollywood Accounts For 1.2% Of Nigerian GDP

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Previously uncalculated data from Nigeria’s booming Nollywood film and other tech industries helped almost double the country’s gross domestic product, CNBC reports.

Nigeria failed to overhaul its GDP calculations since 1990, something most governments
do every few years. With its newly completed 2013 GDP rebasing, industries that now officially count towards its economy include the mobile phone market, e-commerce, music and Nollywood.

The local, homegrown film industry has produced recent African blockbusters such as “Margaret Thatcher” series and “Invasion 1897.”

Nigeria’s GDP almost doubled after rebasing from 42.3 trillion to 80.3 trillion Nigerian
naira ($509.9 billion) in 2013.

Nollywood now accounts for around 1.3 percent of total output, according to Jason Njoku, co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv, a video-on-demand platform for Nollywood movies.

“Nollywood has … been growing steadily for the past 20 years and can legitimately be uttered in the same breath as the likes of Hollywood,” Njoku said in a prepared statement.

About 1,500 to 2,000 Nollywood movies are being made every year, Njoku said. “It is an economic miracle … considering the conservative budgets movie producers have to work with, as well as the antiquated methods of distribution that held the industry back for so many years.”

Investors at home and abroad, once unwilling to invest in Nollywood, put their money in traditional industries such as agriculture, oil and real estate, Njoku said. In 2010, iROKOtv secured $3 million in funds from U.S.-based Tiger Global — the first significant, multi-million dollar investment in the industry. Since then, iROKOtv has secured a further $19 million in investment.

The GDP rebasing is important because for the first time in 15 years, the government will know scientifically what each industry contributes to the economy, said Labaran Maku, Nigerian Minister of Information, in a statement. “We will also be able to know the sectors that have made the most progress and which ones are lagging behind,” she said.

“If you’re not in Nigeria, you’re not in Africa. And you’re kidding yourself.” Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at a press conference Sunday, CNBC reports.

Nigeria’s government faces corruption allegations, most recently following the president’s
suspension of the country’s central bank governor. President Goodluck Jonathan claimed $20 billion in oil revenue went missing and he fired central bank chief Lamido Sanusi for “financial misconduct.”

Sanusi sued and has since been awarded $300,000 in damages by a Nigerian court after he filed a harassment case against the government, CNBC reports.