- Nigerian cinema has best-ever box office returns
Despite a gloomy economy and an uncertain outlook, the Nigerian movie industry has just enjoyed its best year at the box-office with an amazing N1 billion from a record 50 locally-produced titles. After years of predictions, it seems that Nollywood is finally delivering on its promise and putting quality before quantity.
As a result, movie-goers have rewarded the industry with a massive increase in cinema ticket sales. The N1 billion bonanza, represents nearly 30 percent of the N3.5 billion generated from just 28 cinemas across Nigeria, which includes movies from Hollywood and around the world.
The Wedding Party, Nigeria’s latest blockbuster movie, has broken box-office records at every milestone since it was released nationwide to critical acclaim on December 16. It took just two weeks to eclipse the record of N176 million held by AY’s A Trip to Jamaica, emerging with a staggering N200 million before the New Year weekend was over. Both films led a strong lineup of popular Nigerian films in 2016, including Wives on Strike, The CEO, 93 Days and ‘76.
A Trip to Jamaica had an amazing run during September-October and looked set to close the year as the box-office champion. However, The Wedding Party hit the cinemas with the biggest opening weekend in Nollywood history with N36 million; the best-ever opening week with N66 million; the biggest week ever with N110 million; and a jaw-dropping Christmas box-office total of N146 million.
What followed appears to be unprecedented, with cinemas in many parts of the country reporting sold-out screens throughout the rest of the holiday season, as excited fans who saw earlier screenings returned for a second round, often with friends and family in tow. Much of the appeal of the film is due to a heartwarming storyline, beautiful sets and gorgeous costumes, while most of the audience can identify with the lavish Nigerian wedding, contentious relatives and almost-chaotic proceedings that defy even the most careful planning.
This amazing response to a Nigerian film suggests that the producers, ELFIKE Film Collective, were right to assemble such a stellar cast and to trust director, Kemi Adetiba, to guide them to superb performances. Relative newcomers like Banky W and Adesua Etomi look comfortable alongside veteran actors, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Ireti Doyle, while the comedy genius of Sola Sobowale, Ali Baba and AY shine through. ELFIKE relied on the collective experience of the partners, EbonyLife Films, Film One, Koga Studios and Inkblot Productions, to ensure high production values throughout.
According to the executive producer, Mo Abudu, “We really believe that the Nigerian consumer will support ‘made in Nigeria’ products if the quality is comparable to international standards. We wanted to create a film that would make our people proud and the response of movie-goers suggests that we have succeeded. Equally important has been the support of so many sponsors, including Dubai Tourism, Airtel, Diageo and Bank of Industry, who were instrumental in getting us off to an amazing start.”
COO of FilmOne Distribution, Moses Babatope, is delighted by the public response, noting enthusiastically, “This has been an amazing year for Nigerian cinema. With returns of well over N200 million, The Wedding Party is on track to deliver numbers we have never seen before for a Nigerian film. It’s important to note that it is selling more tickets than Rogue One, part of the Star Wars franchise and the biggest film worldwide this season. For the first time, Nollywood is competing with Hollywood at the Nigerian box-office and winning.”
The Wedding Party is only the second film produced by EbonyLife Films. It’s predecessor, Fifty, was the most successful film at the Nigerian box-office in 2015 and has spawned a television series due to air on EbonyLife TV in 2017. Fifty was the only Nigerian film and one of only five African films from a global selection of 238 films to be screened at the 59th BFI London Film Festival.
There are two new films in the works, including a sequel to The Wedding Party that will ensure more outstanding commercial success for EbonyLife in 2017/18. The Wedding Party is still showing at all cinemas across Nigeria.
Increased Demand Paves The Way for Expansion of Africa’s Sugar Industry
Africa, June 2021: A new focus report produced by the Oxford Business Group (OBG), in partnership with the International Sugar Organization (ISO), explores the potential that Africa’s sugar industry holds for growth on the back of an anticipated rise in regional demand. The report was presented to ISO members during the MECAS meeting at the Organization’s 58th Council Session, on June 17th 2021.
Titled “Sugar in Africa”, the report highlights the opportunities for investors to contribute to the industry’s development by helping to bridge infrastructure gaps in segments such as farming and refining and port facilities.
The report considers the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could deliver by supporting fair intra-African sugar trade efforts and bringing regulatory frameworks under a common umbrella, which will be key to improving competitiveness.
The increased international focus on ESG standards is another topical issue examined. Here, the report charts the initiatives already under way in Africa supported by green-focused investment with sustainability at their core, which will help to instil confidence in new investors keen to adhere to ESG principles in their decision-making.
In addition, subscribers will find coverage of the impact that Covid-19 had on the industry, with detailed analysis provided of the decrease in both worldwide sugar production and prices, as movement restrictions and social-distancing measures took their toll on operations.
The report shines a spotlight on sugar production in key markets across the continent, noting regional differences in terms of output and assessing individual countries’ roles as net exporters and importers.
It also includes an interview with José Orive, Executive Director, International Sugar Organisation, in which he maps out the particularities of the African sugar industry, while sharing his thoughts on what needs to be done to promote continental trade and sustainable development.
“The region is well advanced in terms of sugar production overall, but several challenges still hinder its full potential,” he said. “It is not enough to just produce sugar; producers must be able to move it to buyers efficiently. When all negotiations related to the AfCFTA have concluded, we expect greater investment across the continent and a clearer regulatory framework.”
Karine Loehman, OBG’s Managing Director for Africa, said that while the challenges faced by Africa’s sugar producers shouldn’t be underestimated, the new report produced with the ISO pointed to an industry primed for growth on the back of anticipated increased consumption across the continent and higher levels of output in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Regional demand for sugar is expected to rise in the coming years, driven up by Africa’s population growth and drawing a line under declines triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “With sub-Saharan Africa’s per capita sugar consumption currently standing at around half of the global average, the opportunities to help meet increasing domestic need by boosting production are considerable.”
The study on Africa’s sugar industry forms part of a series of tailored reports that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.
Global Demand for Investment Gold Plunged by 70% YoY to 161 Metric Tons in Q1 2021
Last year, investors flocked to gold as stock markets crashed on a gloomy economic outlook due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, global demand for investment gold surged to over 591 metric tons, the second-highest level since 2016. However, the investors’ demand for gold has dropped significantly this year.
According to data compiled by AksjeBloggen, global demand for investment gold plunged by 70% year-over-year to 161 metric tons in the first quarter of 2021.
The Lowest Quarterly Figures after Record Gold Investments in 2020
In 2016, the global gold demand amounted to 4,309 metric tons, revealed Statista and the World Gold Council data. By the end of 2019, this figure rose to 4,356 metric tons. Investment gold accounted for 30% of that amount. Worldwide gold jewelry demand volumes reached 2,118 metric tons that year. Central banks and technology followed with 648 and 326 metric tons, respectively.
Statistics show the global demand for investment gold surged amid the COVID-19 outbreak, growing by 35% YoY to almost 1,800 metric tons in 2020. Demands for gold used in technology also rose by 17% to 383.4 metric tons, while central banks and other institutions bought 326.2 metric tons of gold in 2020, a 50% plunge in a year.
However, after record gold investments in 2020, the global demand for gold for investment purposes dropped to the lowest quarterly level in years.
The Price of Gold Dropped by 5% Since January
The average gold value tends to increase during a recession, making it an attractive investment in uncertain times. In February 2019, a troy ounce of gold cost $1,320.07, revealed the Statista and World Gold Council data. By the end of that year, the price of gold rose to $1,479.13.
The gold price continued growing throughout 2020, reaching an all-time high of over $2,000 in August. By the end of the year, the precious metal price slipped to $1,864 and then rose to over $1,950 in January 2021.
However, the first quarter of the year brought a negative trend, with the price of gold falling to $1,684 by the end of March. Statistics indicate the price of gold stood at around $1,860 last week, a 5% drop since the beginning of the year.
Gold, Other Safe Haven Assets Plunge Ahead of Fed Rate Hikes
Gold and other safe-haven assets plunged last week as the Federal Reserve signals the possibility of raising interest rates twice in 2023 given the ongoing economic recovery post-COVID-19.
The price of gold dropped by 6.04 percent last week as investors rushed to move their funds out of safe-haven assets including the new gold, cryptocurrency.
The entire crypto space sheds $898 billion in market value to hover around $1.625 trillion last week, down from $2.523 trillion recorded on Wednesday 12, 2021. Its highest market capitalisation till date.
The Federal Reserve raised inflation expectations to 3.4 percent and shifted the year it is expected to increase interest rates from near-zero to 2023 from the previously projected 2024.
The new hawkish stance of the central bank led to capital outflow from safe havens and subsequently boosted dollar attraction.
The United States Dollar gained across the board with the dollar index that tracks its performance against six major currencies, rising by 0.63 percent to 91.103 last week.
However, on Monday morning the gold showed signs of recovery, gaining 0.5 percent to $1,772.34 per ounce following the retreat in U.S. treasury yield that boosted the attraction of non-yielding metal.
Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency coin, pared losses to $33,245 per coin, up from the $32,658 decline it posted last week.
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