Friday, June 21, 2024

Idris Elba Believes Africa’s Creative Youth Are ‘Significant Driver of Economic Growth’

Idris Elba (bowtie) - Getty
Idris Elba – Getty

*The “stigma” of creative industries not doing serious business in Africa is something Idris Elba is out to eliminate. The actor believes Africa’s creative youth are a “significant driver of economic growth.”

In his eyes, the continent’s youth are key to an increased global awareness of African art. Semafor Africa notes Elba’s view of it being a case of worlds colliding, mentioning the impact of streaming services in the awareness increase by providing more access than ever to African art

Sharing his thoughts recently with Semafor Africa, Elba acknowledged the situation as he believes the opportunity is right to there to capitalize on Africa’s creative community in a profitable and powerful way.

”On the other hand, there’s an outpouring of creativity from African countries where most of the populations are aged under 25 — “a time when your brain is at its most creative,” the site added.

“There’s a stigma attached to creative industries as not being serious business,” Elba told Semafor, in comparison to industries like mining or agriculture.

Idris Elba
Idris Elba / Getty

Looking ahead, the “Luther” actor stated the arts could become a “significant driver of economic growth” if the value of the creative sector was accepted by policymakers.

“There is some key reframing that African countries need to adopt in order to really think about the business aspect of creativity,” said Elba, whose parents come from Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Elba’s involvement with Africa’s creative community comes from a personal place. In addition to spending time in Africa working on several projects across the continent in recent years, the “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” star, who played the South African leader in the biopic, has filmed in multiple African countries, including Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, and DR Congo.

On the business side, Elba generated headlines last year by announcing plans to build a film studio in Ghana as well as turn Sherbro Island, located off the coast of Sierra Leone into an eco-friendly smart city. Last month, Semafor noted, the project received a boost via insurer Lloyds of London stating it would take a role in the project and Sherbro Alliance Partners, the company Elba co-founded in 2019, working on feasibility studies with Sierra Leone’s government. The collaborators are aligning to develop a special economic zone on Sherbro Island with the promise of jobs and world-class infrastructure, according to the site.

Semafor further mentioned how global interest in African music, film, and art factors puts weight on efforts to ensure African countries benefit from the interest, “in much the same way that the United States benefits from Hollywood.”

For Elba, African creatives are what he called the nucleus surrounded by a logistics network that creates jobs, from carpenters and makeup artists, to sound engineers and lighting technicians.

Despite Elba’s good intentions, Semafor touched on his efforts being the latest development surrounding a celebrity trying to create a smart city in an African country.

Case in point: Akon’s plans to build a $6 billion futuristic city named after himself in Mbodiène, a coastal village in the singer’s native Senegal. Although the goal of the project, inspired by the fictional kingdom of Wakanda, was to generate tourism and jobs.

Half a decade later, few signs of construction exist from the effort.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Idris Elba on Building a Wind-powered Eco-city and Why He Doesn’t Watch ‘The Wire’

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