Nigeria’s creative industry is one of the most disruptive forces coming out of the so-called “Giant of Africa” these days. It generated a N239 billion contribution to Nigeria’s GDP in 2016, MarkAngel Comedy became the first African YouTube channel to hit 1 million subscribers; Wizkid walked the runway (styled by Stefano Gabbana, personally) with legendary supermodel Naomi Campbell; and Davido sold out venues in Suriname (+ BET’s Best International Act 2018).

Nigerian creators are destroying ceilings and beaming the light of African creativity, style and presence to the world. And the world is taking notice – TechCabal has learned that Facebook is planning an upcoming launch of Facebook for Creators in Nigeria and a partnership with Afrinolly to train 3000 creators and 2000 journalism students. It’s Facebook, you have to pay attention.

Should YouTube be worried?

Everybody knows that you are not a ‘creator’ yet until you have a YouTube channel. It is the biggest video platform in the world and arguably in Nigeria as well. From Sisi Yemmie and Fisayo Fosudo to Tobi Ayeni (MissTechy), MarkAngel Comedy and every other Nigerian media house, YouTube has all the big Nigerian stars.

Unfortunately, data is still expensive here and we can’t boast of the kinds of smartphone penetration they have in developed climes – most people automatically think “data hog” once you mention YouTube (although they did launch the stripped down data-sensitive YouTube Go for this exact reason).

Perhaps YouTube’s biggest advantage is that it offers monetization (which Facebook for Creators does not). Or maybe it’s the groundwork it’s already done building up a community of creators in Nigeria. Facebook on the other hand will have all of its 2 billion plus daily users to offer as well as a much more direct-to-viewer setup (since the Facebook for Creators app is much more mobile-facing than YouTube’s Creator Studio) and user habits that are unique to its platform (people don’t ‘visit’ Facebook like they do YouTube).

Yet another platform for Nigerian creatives

Either way you look at it, it’s still a win for Nigerian creators. They get a product better targeted at helping them magnify their brand and empowering their stories. The fact that Facebook is not only launching the product in Nigeria but has also recently established a physical presence (of sorts) demonstrates a broader perception of the value/potential in the Nigerian creative space.

Upskilling is good for the creative industry

There’s also the thing about training 5000 creators and would-be journalists, via the partnership with Afrinolly, a creative space/hub and the most downloaded entertainment app, designed and developed in Africa. The skills needed to deliver the compelling stories we want to tell are important brush strokes on the canvas of our genius – development in that regard is critical.

One interesting takeaway from this is the role of Afrinolly – maybe a few more startups need to look at what they are doing right. Not only did Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pay them a visit during a surprise visit to Lagos in 2016,  they are now going to work with one of the biggest tech companies in the world to further elevate their industry through upskilling.

Facebook for Creators launch in Nigeria and the training partnership with Afrinolly lends credence to the Nigerian creative industry as a whole. While it may be hard to adjudge the impact this may have on the economic status of stakeholders in the space, there is no denying the value thereof – not just for creators but also for the tech ecosystem and Nigeria as a whole.


Akindare Okunola Author

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