By Amb. Dr Queen Blessing Ebigieson 
National President, Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Nigeria. 

The Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Nigeria is the premier producers association in Nollywood that represents, protects and promotes the interests of its Members of the producing team in film, television and news media. It was founded in 1996 and has over 10,000 members and over 27 state chapters in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory and diaspora. 

Let’s talk about the state of Nollywood for a moment. 

“Nollywood” was coined in the early 90s, taking a cue from the American and Indian film  industries, namely Hollywood and Bollywood. 

Nollywood as we know it today could be said to have been founded by a group of Nigerians who wanted to produce films for themselves and their friends in order to  escape the harsh realities they faced daily. After Nigeria declared independence in 1960, Nigerian filmmakers such as Ola Balogun,  Hubert Ogunde and Eddie Ugboma began producing movies. These movies became  popular among Nigerians. But arguably, Nollywood began, with the release in 1992 of “Living in Bondage”. Even though the film was released on home video (VHS), it became a massive hit and was eventually released in movie theaters. “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free”, from 2019, produced with N10m, grossed a whooping N168.7m. 

As might be expected, In the early stages of Nollywood, the movies were recognized by their home video style of filming. But as the industry grew and expanded into other genres, it also produced a wide range of comedies, horror movies and period pieces, shown in movie theaters, especially in the  country’s largest city, Lagos, where a mix of international and homegrown films were shown. As VCD and DVD followed the way of VHS, Nollywood grew considerably, due to increased Internet access, which allowed films to be viewed online and which gave access to viewers around the world. 

Apart from Nigeria’s large viewing population, Nollywood’s audience is global, Africa in particular.  Nollywood produces films in the main Nigerian indigenous languages, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo. These are subtitled in English. It also holds its own in English productions.  

The success of early video films transformed Nigerian cinema to a global movie powerhouse. Popular Nigerian film companies were releasing four to five films per day, which were viewed by an estimated 15 million people in Nigeria and five million in other African countries. 

Nollywood’s Potential 

With an annual output of over 50 thousand movies, Nollywood is the fastest growing film industry in the world, second only to India’s Bollywood. It is especially still growing in popularity among the African diaspora, in countries like Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, where there is a large audience watching in both Nigerian languages and English.

In the 2000s, with no government funding or modern theaters to showcase video films, Nigerian cinema began to make industry-wide changes. Today’s new Nigerian cinema is full of professionally produced movies of high production value with complex and detailed storylines, as well as talented actors, suitable for modern theaters. Films like Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 “The Wedding Party” amongst many other brilliant movies, set box office records and drew attention from various international film festivals. 

The rise of Nollywood has surprised critics and non-critics alike and over the past two decades, it has become a cultural phenomenon attracting millions of fans. It has become so successful that the Western streaming services have made distribution deals, allowing Nollywood’s latest movies to gain global views. While Hollywood films are mostly shown in theaters around the world, Nollywood movies are typically just released on the internet and streaming services, one of the most popular being YouTube, where there are channels dedicated to Nollywood films. 

Nigeria’s culture of entrepreneurship has also expanded by developing distribution networks (Eg. Iroko, Aforevo) where people can watch Nollywood movies from their phones at any time for a small fee. 

Supporting Nollywood 

Nollywood is one of the best solutions to addressing unemployment in Nigeria. A $6.4 billion industry, it is one of the biggest employers of labour that requires support. In its search for income which does not rely on income from petroleum, the government has a strong potential in Nollywood. 

Nollywood is populated with talented and well-skilled players. One major handicap we face is accessing Capital on liberal terms and conditions. Producers should be supported with grants and collateral free and single digit loans to enable us to grow the industry more. The Lagos State government has shown an interest in this area with grants made available in 2023 to industry players via their various associations.  

The Edo State Government is also toeing the same line through its Edo Jobs, making production easier while filming in Edo State for filmmakers by making available information so producers can assess security measures and other logistics. 

The industry also needs film studios, film hubs and film villages in different locations in Nigeria, which would lower production costs and make Nollywood more competitive globally. Protected film facilities will prevent regular attacks by hoodlums, protecting industry stakeholders and facilitating movie production. Training of professionals is also a challenge for the industry. Institutions who impact skills in various aspects of the industry must be encouraged. Appropriate courses can be  introduced in curriculums in our higher institutions of learning. 


In conclusion, I can boldly state that today, the Nigerian film industry is now the most important platform for showcasing Nigeria’s arts and culture to the world. The launch of both the Amazon prime and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” movie in Lagos is a testament to the importance of the Nigerian film industry.   

Nollywood has now become the largest movie market in Africa in terms of number of movies produced per year, revenue, popularity and job creation  for actors, directors, scriptwriters, costume designers, production assistants and other individuals in the value chain. Nigeria’s movie industry is currently ranked the second largest female industry globally with the financial value of the film  industry put at over $6.4 billion as of 2021. Furthermore the job-creating potential in the industry cannot be overstated, as the industry currently employs over one million people annually, making it one of Nigeria’s largest employers. Its capacity to employ a large number of people has been applauded by the World Bank, who has acknowledged the job creation potentials of Nollywood. 

Amb. Dr Queen Blessing Ebigieson 

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