The cultural and tourism sector also have enormous growth potential, according to economists. Enter two handsome Nollywood stars - Desmond Elliott and Ramsey Noah - despatched to the World Economic Forum to promote Nigeria's burgeoning film industry - and add a bit of glitz to what is normally a rather straight-laced corporate affair. Valued at $250m (£152m) a year, the budget films sector that is Nollywood is now being taken seriously by international finance houses and investors. Low budget Nigerian films, feted for their dramatic appeal and stories of real African life, are in demand across the continent, spurring an appetite to grow this entertainment sector. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has earmarked $200m to nurture creative industries in Nigeria, and the World Bank is reportedly supporting the Nigerian film industry to the tune of $30m. Infrastructure required But M-Net Africa managing director Biola Alabi says, as is the case in many other industries, to get investors in, the government needs to assist with positioning the financial and marketing infrastructures that help support investment. "When you are doing due diligence from a banking perspective, you need to known how many people are buying the films," he says. "If 50 films are being distributed a week, you need to know who is buying them, to assess whether you are going to get a good return on your investment." The sparkle of the film industry, may grab the headlines at a conference where so much of the conversations are about abstract goals such as partnerships and growth mechanisms. But without the "infrastructure groundsheet" to provide a foundation for growth, the key message is that Africa runs the risk of being left out in the cold.
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