The UK-based broadcaster and ardent promoter of Afrobeat in the diaspora, Olajide Adesope has harped on impact of Afrobeats in the United Kingdom, UK Parliament
Adesope appealed to the United Kingdom government to collaborate with its Nigerian counterpart and multilateral organisations to provide funding support for both the established and up and coming creatives in Nigeria.
He made the plea recently at the UK parliament when he met select members of the parliament on foreign affairs alongside Afrobeats star, Patoranking to discuss the impact of Afrobeats on the Nigerian economy, the challenges, barriers and what the British Government could do to help out alongside Patoranking who also appeared at the parliament.
One of the most significant challenges facing creatives working really hard in Nigeria is the paucity of funds, he said. Hence advocating the need to provide funding support for them.
“We are looking at funding for a lot of the creatives in Nigeria that are creating music; we are looking at partners in international funding organisations that invest in the creative industry,” Adesope said.
Adesope, whose passion has grown beyond the African soil also called for the need to give Afrobeats more boost relevance and prestige as one of the creative talents that has become a reference point when pan Africa music and entertainment flavor is brought to the global stage.
“The lack of structure and protection for intellectual property is another huge barrier Afrobeats musicians in Nigerian currently face, he said, noting that live performance has been a channel that has helped them make a living from their hard work, but a lot of hoops and red tapes have not allowed them the to maximise the vibrant African diaspora community in the United Kingdom.
“If the UK government can also take the time to just look into the red tapes and hoops to make it a lot more accessible for a wide range of creatives from Nigeria, that would be very helpful”, he pleaded.
Information and education could help Afrobeats artists in the country know how to protect their intellectual property and make more money from their works.
Adesope explained thus: “we need information and education as I mentioned earlier. I was part of the team that went to Nigeria with support from the UKTI to teach some of the Nigerian musicians how to maximise their income out of their creatives and also the partners and the international organisations they can register with to protect their rights worldwide.
“So, education and information would also be very important with that. I mentioned earlier that the live industry is a massive part of promoting music around the world. The Nigerian creatives have been successful in getting out on the social media and promoting their music digitally but, we know, to sustain and grow bigger, artists have to come into countries like the United Kingdom where there is a vibrant African diaspora community to come and perform to them live.
“It would be helpful for the Foreign Office in the UK to engage the Foreign Office in Nigeria. The time you’ve taken out to speak to us about Afrobeats, music and all, is hugely appreciated and we’d appreciate it even more if you could engage the Foreign Office in Nigeria to take their time out and look at this genre that’s now become a revelation around the world.
To this, Patoranking agrees: “We’d want the government to come in with information and learning, create policies, invest in arts. If the UK government could create funding for other issues in Nigeria, I think it would be very nice if they could create funding for arts which is one of the biggest exports now.”
Explaining how well Afrobeats could contribute to the Nigerian economy, Adesope explained that PwC in 2015 said the Nigerian music industry digital downloads sales was about $53 million. It has spiked to $73 million this year, he said, noting that the surge is projected to continue.
This means that any investment in the genre is definitely going to have ripple effects on the economy because, according to the same PwC report, the genre added about N18 billion to the Nigerian economy in 2020. Jobs that would be created in the country and many youths would gainfully be engaged, be lifted from poverty if the genre is adequately invested in, he advocated.
“If the British music industry is adding about £5 billion to the British economy, look at what Afrobeats can do to the Nigerian economy. So, we’d like the British government to engage their partners in Nigeria to signpost them to have a closer look at this fast-rising genre that’s becoming a global export and what the benefit could be to the Nigerian economy, to job creation to the young people, to invest in the younger people and to support the creative industry to ensure it gives back to the country.”