April 14, 2024

How MultiChoice Empowers Nigerian Youth Through Creative Investment

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As global populations age, Africa remains a bastion of youthful promise, with around 70% of the continent’s population below the age of 30. This youthful demographic can be an asset – but only if it is developed, by empowering young people through training, and by giving them a stake in the growth of their countries’ economies. 

Helping to develop young people’s abilities and expanding the pool of skills is also in the interests of industry and big business. Over the years, the Federal government of Nigeria embarked on youth empowerment initiatives to harness skills and energy of Nigerian youths for economic growth.  

However, unlocking private-sector investment in youth development remains critical, especially in the creative sector. This is where pan-African broadcasting group, MultiChoice, has taken on the responsibility of developing its own sector, through its MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) academies across the continent. 

MTF academies offer year-long training programmes to students from 13 countries, combining practical and theory instruction in disciplines such as cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling. They also offer African students the chance to hone their skills alongside industry greats.

MTF has had a profound impact across Africa, having already produced more than 300 alumni. The programme is revolutionising the industry by training young filmmakers; creating paths to professional careers in the film and TV sector; and empowering African professionals to create relevant content for African audiences.

An MTF survey has found that around 92% of MTF Academy graduates go on to work in the creative sector. As part of their training, many MTF students get to work on existing productions on MultiChoice channels such as Africa Magic, Maisha Africa or Mzansi Magic. 

According to MTF Academy Director, West Africa, Atinuke Babatunde, the initiative has been worthwhile and very impactful. “We’ve had students graduate and start up their own businesses. Many of our MTF alumni have found employment within MultiChoice, and 30 independent production houses have been registered by former MTF students, many becoming suppliers to the Group,” she said

MTF Academy West Africa best graduating student of the 2022 cohort, Adedamola Akapo, received an all-expense paid two-month scholarship to the New York Film Academy. Abisola Aboaba, who emerged top-performing graduate of 2020 set, won the NYFA 8-week scholarship in the United States of America.

Also, the class of 2023’s top three graduates received internships in recognition of their exceptional work and achievements. Segun Elvis Damptey from Ghana was awarded a two-week internship at a local film and TV production in South Africa; Abdulazziz Attah from Nigeria was awarded a two-week Bollywood internship with Zee World; and Samuel Ogundeyi, also from Nigeria, was awarded an eight-week scholarship to the New York Film Academy (NYFA). 

This industry integration has twin benefits of providing the creative sector with a healthy pipeline of talented young people, while also giving MTF graduates relevant experience.  The creativity of MTF Alumni has seen them receive nominations and awards on yearly basis at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. The initiative has also nurtured talents such as Allen Onyige and Adeniyi Joseph-Omobulejo, who produced the popular Africa Magic original series, “Irora Iya”.  Aside from the MTF Academies, which provide intensive, year-long training, the MTF Portal focuses on enhancing the capabilities of working industry professionals, through specialised training, workshops, collaborations, and networking opportunities.

Figures by MultiChoice Africa also showed that the company contributes significantly to the broader African economy through procurement and supplier development with emerging and youth-owned businesses. The company said it has invested over $632 million in preferential procurement spend; in excess of $137 million in direct spend on medium and micro-enterprises; about $106 million spent on suppliers with at least 30% women ownership; and over $406 million on black-empowerment accredited suppliers.

Such economic benefits form part of the MultiChoice continuum of youth empowerment – creating opportunities which lead to quality content for MultiChoice audiences and ultimately benefit local economies across the continent. 

MultiChoice reaches 23.5 million households, and more than 100 million people, in 50 African countries. Quality African storytelling has been the key to its success. Developing well trained, empowered young people through the MTF will be the key to that success in future. 

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