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Netflix and Unesco search for African film-makers to ‘reimagine’ folktales

Netflix

Netflix and Unesco search for African film-makers to ‘reimagine’ folktales

Unesco has teamed up with streaming giant Netflix to find and fund six short films “reimagining” folktales that will premiere in 2022.

Passed down through the generations, whispered at bedtimes and raucously retold by elders, folktales have long been a mainstay of African cultural heritage.

For Nelson Mandela they were “morsels rich with the gritty essence of Africa but in many instances universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts and the mystical.”

Now some of those tales – perhaps the one about a scheming hyena or a snake with seven heads – are to gain fresh global recognition as a new competition aims to find the next generation of film-makers from sub-Saharan Africa.

“We want to find the bravest, wittiest, and most surprising retellings of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales and share them with entertainment fans around the world in over 190 countries,” the UN cultural body and production company said in a joint statement.

Winners of the competition, which opens on Thursday, will be trained and mentored by industry professionals and given a production grant of $75,000 (£55,000) through a local company. Entrants must be citizens and residents of a country in sub-Saharan Africa and be aged 18-35.

Ernesto Ottone, Unesco’s assistant director-general for culture, said the organisation had approached Netflix as it carried out the first complete mapping of the continent’s film and audiovisual industries. That report, released last week, found the creative industries were currently grossly underserved but could quadruple their revenue and create an extra 20m jobs.

“What we’re trying to achieve with [Netflix] … is how we can engage those young film-makers in telling stories of African folk and in passing on through the generations the culture and the traditions that are in place in Africa,” he said. To do this, partnering with a platform on the global scale of Netflix was vital to ensure visibility, he said.

Ottone rejected any suggestion the competition could be seen as a western initiative trying to co-opt the African voice.

“No, we don’t believe it because, as you can see, what we are launching is for African young creators and film-makers to tell their stories … We are not telling stories from our view in the north of what should be or what could be representative of Africa. It’s not the purpose. The purpose is to give the voice to the young creators who are living there and are creating there.”

Africa-set films, such as British-made the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, have had great critical acclaim, but the continent’s own creative industries are grossly underserved, the Unesco report found.

Many of the continent’s film-makers face significant barriers, from the political – limits on freedom of expression are common – to the practical: patchy internet connectivity and a lack of funding. The Unesco report found that only 19 African countries offered financial support to film-makers.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content in Africa, said: “Africa has a rich storytelling heritage and a wealth of folktales that have been passed down for generations. When you marry these very local stories with Africa’s emerging talent, there is no limit to fresh new stories to connect people with African cultures and bring the world that much closer to each other.”

Amadasun, who is Nigerian, said earlier this year he believed the world was witnessing “the beginning of a golden age for African films”. Netflix, he told the New African magazine, was “one of the key companies in the world that could give us this opportunity for our stories and our voices to be heard all over the world”.

In the foreword to his2002 anthology of African folktales, Mandela said it was natural that the stories told over centuries should be reinvented by different people and in different places.

“Because a story is a story,” he wrote, “and you may tell it as your imagination and your being and your environment dictate; and if your story grows wings and becomes the property of others, you may not hold it back. One day it will return to you, enriched by new details and with a new voice.”

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Business

DMO Issues Two FGN Savings Bonds At N1,000/unit

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has announced its Dec. issuance of two Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Savings Bonds at N1,000 per unit.

According to a statement by the DMO, the first offer is a two-year FGN Savings Bond due on Dec. 14, 2022, at an interest rate of 12.255 percent per annum.

The second one is a three-year FGN Savings Bond due on Dec. 14, 2025, at a 13.255 percent interest rate per annum.

It said that the opening date for the issuance of the bonds is Dec.5, the closing date is Dec. 9, the settlement date, is Dec. 14 while coupon payment dates are March 14, June 14, Sept. 14, and Dec. 14.

“They are issued at N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter, subject to a maximum subscription of N50 million.

“Interest is payable quarterly, while bullet repayment is made on the maturity date, ” it said.

It added that FGN savings bonds qualify as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act.

“They qualify as government securities within the meaning of the Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds amongst other Investors.

“They are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and qualify as liquid assets for liquidity ratio calculation for banks,” it said.

The statement said they were backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria, and charged upon the general assets of the country.

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DMO Says It has Raised N130bn From Sukuk For Key Road Projects

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says it raised N130 billion from its N100 billion sovereign al ’Ijarah sukuk opened on November 21, 2022.

DMO, in a statement on Monday disclosed that the offer of N100 billion was “upsized to N130 billion due to the over 165 percent subscription level”.

The Sukuk is a strategic initiative that supports infrastructure development, promotes financial inclusion and deepens the domestic securities market.

Since the establishment of the initiative in September 2017, Nigeria has issued four sovereign sukuk: 2017 (N100 billion), 2018 (N100 billion), 2020 (N162.557 billion), and 2021 (N250 billion).

According to the statement, this year’s total sovereign sukuk issuance moved to N742.557 billion.

“The Debt Management Office (DMO) is pleased to inform the public of the successful conclusion of the issuance of N100 billion sovereign al ’ijarah sukuk. The offer for N100 billion opened on November 21, 2022, and was supported by wide public sensitisation to encourage subscription from diverse investors, particularly the retail investors,” the statement reads.

“The initial offer size of N100 billion was upsized to N130 billion due to the over 165 percent subscription level. The Sukuk was issued at a rental rate of 15.64 percent per annum. This brings the total sovereign sukuk issuance to N742.557 billion as at date.”

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CBN Limits Withdrawal To N100,000 Weekly

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday slashed the cash withdrawal by an individual to N100,000 per week by an individual.

The apex bank also fixed N500,000 as the amount a company can withdraw in a week.

By this new policy, account holders can only withdraw a maximum of N100,000 weekly through Automated Teller Machine (ATM), subject to a maximum of N20,000 daily withdrawal.

Under the new policy, which is to take effect from January 9, 2023, the maximum cash withdrawal via Point of Sale (POS) shall also be N20,000 daily.

This was contained in a circular issued by the CBN on Tuesday, signed by director of banking supervision, Haruna Mustafa and addressed to deposit money banks and other financial institutions.

According to the circular, deposit money banks and other financial institutions are also mandated to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week.

It further indicated that all cash withdrawals in excess of the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The new policy also states that third party cheques in excess of N50,000 shall not be eligible for over the counter payment, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques subsist.

“Only denomination of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.

“In compelling circumstances not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits is required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5,000,000 and N10,000,000 for individuals and corporate organisations respectively, and shall be subject to the references processing fees in (1) above, in addition to enhanced due diligence and further information requirements,” the circular stated.

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