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At NECLive5, entertainment stakeholders seek enabling environment

As the entertainment business worldwide continues to attain rapid growth, with the future of the industry increasingly relying on information technology and new ideas, stakeholders in the sector yesterday reiterated the need for government to create an enabling environment with functional structures.

The call was made at this year’s edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference tagged NECLive, a forum for the Nigerian entertainment industry, which continually discusses development of the sector.

From paper presentations to panel sessions, practitioners agreed that virtually all segments of the industry have grown into multi-billion dollar businesses, and the role of the industry cannot be ignored in terms of employment generation and poverty alleviation.

With the theme, “It’s time for Africa,” this year’s NECLive focused on the readiness of the continent to embrace global opportunities and engage with its very best.In his opening address, the chairman/convener, Ayeni Adekunle, noted that last year, Nigeria’s Nollywood movies surpassed Hollywood and Bollywood in cinema earnings.

His words: “The world’s attention has shifted to Africa and producers are looking to invest in the region, even as Nigerian music is now recognised globally, riding on the nation’s peculiar pop music and dynamic musicians like Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Davido and Tekno.”

In a presentation titled, “Replacing Hollywood with Nollywood,” the Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, said a lot still needed to be done if Africa, noting that Nigeria, as its offshoot, must take firm control of world entertainment.

“Beyond oil, we need to export our contents, talents to the world. More structures need to be created as Nigerian movies have found a wider appeal. As a company, we will continue to invest and co-produce local contents,” he added.

Ace actor/broadcaster, Patrick Doyle, noted that the quality of production from Nigeria matches global standard.He said: “It will interest you to know that the best storyteller is from Nigeria and she is Chimamanda Adichie. Also, a Nigerian won this year’s award for Best Short Film at the BAFFTA Awards.

“The Nigerian spirit is a very indefatigable one. There was a time in the Nigerian music industry when we have heavyweight record labels like Polygram, Sony BMG and others. Despite their expertise and huge resources, they could not last.

“But see what our youths, who with little or no expertise and resources, have been able to make of the industry.” Top comedian, Alibaba, stated that the future is bright as plans are on to introduce comedy as a discipline in tertiary institutions.

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