African Union (AU) countries have established a new agency that aims to grow film on the continent from a US$5-billion to a $20-billion industry that employs over 20-million people.

The African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission (AACC) was launched by African arts and culture ministers meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 17 June.

This followed intensive lobbying led by the AU Commission, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (Fepaci), the Kenyan government and a host of leading film producing countries on the continent.

Strengthening intra-African cooperation

Besides quadrupling the industry's revenue and job creating power, the AACC will aim to promote a robust industry "capable of projecting a positive image of Africa", and to facilitate the export of African film products and services to international markets.

In order to achieve this, Fepaci said in a statement, the commission will set up national, regional and continental structures and work through these to strengthen intra-African cooperation in film, while promoting the use of film to grow "integration, solidarity, respect of values and mutual understanding" across the continent.

Part of a push to mobilize $410m in film funding

The AACC will function as a specialized agency of the AU. A sub-committee of African arts and culture ministers will meet in September to consider its statutes, which will be presented the following month to African justice and legal affairs ministers.

"The audiovisual and cinema industry accounts for $5-billion in continental GDP, employing an estimated 5-million people," Fepaci said.

"The AACC is part of a 5-programme ecosystem that is mobilizing $410-million in programme funds for the promotion of this industry over the next five years. These resources will be raised from both the private and public sector and will be implemented primarily by the private sector."

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission