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Netflix is investing in the African continent to nurture new talents and tell unique stories that often captivate local audiences before reaching global success.

In recent years, Netflix has been making significant strides in its investment in the African continent, with the aim of bringing forth new talents and telling unique stories that resonate with both local and global audiences. Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s Vice President of Content for Africa, spoke to AFP about the company’s strategy and vision for the continent during the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Botswana.

Netflix’s primary goal is to showcase the diversity of the African continent and amplify African voices on the global stage. “Ensuring that we consistently bring more relevant and well-crafted local stories is a major opportunity,” Amadasun stated. The streaming giant recognizes the immense potential in African storytelling and is committed to providing a platform for these narratives to be heard.

To achieve this, Netflix is focusing on developing skills both in front of and behind the camera. The company offers direct training and skill development on its productions, as well as scholarships and master classes for young talents to develop their projects. By investing in local talent, Netflix aims to foster a thriving creative ecosystem that can produce high-quality content for both African and international audiences.

One of Netflix’s key strategies is to prioritize solid African productions that are made primarily for African audiences. Amadasun believes that when a title is appreciated in its home market, it has a better chance of traveling and finding success globally. “A great story can come from anywhere,” he emphasized, noting that authenticity and narrative prowess are crucial factors in determining a project’s potential.

Netflix’s teams closely monitor the various markets they serve to identify the best stories, with a particular focus on Nigeria and South Africa. Amadasun, who is Nigerian himself, stressed the importance of representation, saying, “More people deserve to see themselves, their lives, their culture, language, and country reflected on screen.”

In recent years, Netflix has made significant strides in diversifying its production outside of the United States, achieving enormous success with series such as the Spanish Casa de Papel and the South Korean Squid Game. The South African series Blood & Water became the first from the country to reach the top spot in the United States, demonstrating the potential for African content to resonate with global audiences.

Amadasun believes that a story that is “local, very real, and precise, with a clear vision and well-executed” will attract an interested audience. He emphasized Netflix’s commitment to representing “a diversity of viewpoints and ideas” in its content.

The success of Squid Game is a prime example of how Hollywood is no longer the sole gateway to international recognition. The series, created by a Korean, telling a Korean story for a Korean audience, became the most-watched series of all time on the platform. This demonstrates the power of authentic storytelling and the potential for local narratives to captivate global audiences.

African films and series are currently experiencing a golden age, with “world-class creators” leading the charge, according to Amadasun. He hinted at recent collaborations that will be unveiled in the coming months, further showcasing Netflix’s commitment to African content.

As Netflix continues to invest in the African continent, it is clear that the company recognizes the immense potential for unique and compelling stories to emerge from the region. By nurturing local talent, prioritizing authentic narratives, and providing a global platform, Netflix is helping to shape the future of African storytelling and bring these voices to the forefront of the international stage.

With its focus on skill development, representation and the amplification of African voices, Netflix is well positioned to play a significant role in the continued growth and success of the African creative industry.

With AFP

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