March 6, 2019

The US is gaining influence in Africa’s booming entertainment market

As the US battles China for economic supremacy, it is steadily gaining influence in Africa’s budding entertainment market.

African entertainment is exploding in popularity: From Nigeria’s budding film industry to the visual arts in South Africa, the continent’s creative industries signify real economic opportunity, already generating $4.2B in revenue.

But, of course, whenever something in another country (or in this case, continent) blows up, powerhouses like the US and China immediately want a piece of the pie.

Don’t hate the player hate the game

Last month, the NBA announced it would launch the Basketball Africa League next year (also known as “BAL” — see what they did?).

The NBA has been involved with Africa for decades: From outreach programs to multi-year broadcasting agreements, to the NBA Academy it opened in Senegal back in 2017.

On the other hand, it took the gargantuan success of an American-made Marvel hit about African superheroes — Black Panther — for Netflix to realize it should care about putting money into original African series.

Of course, it always comes back to China

Critics often point to China’s development of large infrastructure in Africa as proof of the country’s dominance in its economic rivalry with the US. 

But as entertainment, media, and sports are becoming more important to Africa’s young, more connected population, the US continues to make progress in the creative industries on the continent.

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