Today is AU day and this is why Africa needs to consider using film to tackle unemployment

Choice is the one one thing every human being is born with because it stems out of the principle of free will, which is a God given right and given the choice, I am one to always see the glass as half full, rather than half empty which is why the fact that Africans have comparatively large families is a very good thing. Especially when you look at societies that potentially may face tipping over because it is skewed towards a heavier top.

What this means is that in those western societies, there are more older people than younger people. Which translates to mean that at a point, there will not be enough younger people working to support the majority aged in the society. We all know how insurance and taxes etc work. There must always be more putting in than taking out and so these societies are now hinging on the Ponzi scheme phenomenon. Need I say more when we all know how that ends?

With all its many problems, this however is not one of the problems Africa faces. Actually it is estimated that by 2030, which is just about 10 years or less from now, 40%, yes 40% of the world’s youth population will be from Africa! The black gene does have a way of taking over! COVID has also given the world a taste of the African health resilience.

What this means however, is that there Will be more people to feed; young energetic people eat hefty meals 😅

Most importantly, there will be more people who will need jobs and I am sorry to say that this is where my fear overtakes my optimism. As someone who has tasted the impact of war before, please pardon me if I struggle with dark thoughts once in a while…

Imagine young, energetic, hungry and angry man and women, boys and girls… and as a filmmaker, my mind jumps to films like the ‘army of the dead’ on Netfliks, which I want to watch, but can’t bring myself to watch, because I know what I will see. As a writer it is uncanny how I can preempt dialogue in the most sophisticated of films. Yes, for real, I know what the person in that film is going to say next before they say it… but I digress!

This year, the theme for the Black Star International film festival is FILMS FOR JOBS and here is why this subject is important.

Even at its worst, a film will employ not less than 10 people and that is a small film indeed. The next time you visit Silverbird when it opens up (God help us soon!) take the time to watch the credits that roll. Every credit is money that went into someone’s pocket.

Film is the one craft that depends on a large number of people to get made in a very short time. I do not know of any other craft so prolific as to employ such a diverse team of people. Forget the crew and cast. You don’t have to be a filmmaker to know the term. But do you know that cooks, electricians, doctors, lawyers, cleaners, architects, seamstress and designers, interior decorators and I can go on and on, also work on film sets? Did you also know that when a film chooses a place for a shoot, they usually will rent some hotel rooms at the very least and make purchases in the area, also creating jobs for people in the locality?

One of the reasons why I am excited that Ghana is setting itself up as a film hub is the money that will potentially attract. I call it low hanging fruit.

Few people know that at one point, Tom Cruise had planned to shoot mission impossible in Ghana… albeit unsuccessfully. The budget of one mission impossible could have changed the fortunes of many and shooting of the entire movie may not even go beyond six months.

Every African President who is visionary will look into the potential of film to create employment for its youth and a people concerned about the future will demand it. It is not charity, it is survival and it is common sense

And so today is AU day, but does Africa foresee what’s coming and are we prepared for it?

Imagine young, energetic, employed and happy men and women, boys and girls… watching themselves and their stories on the global screen… imagine the pride, the self knowledge, the beauty and diversity and the jobs… perhaps there is hope yet!

  • Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante #yaamusings

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