Kenya’s film industry is set for a major boost in the coming days following the signing of a partnership deal with the China Film Administration.
The move to partner in the sector was announced Monday in Nairobi as the two countries unveiled a joint film festival, a new project aimed at deepening ties between Nairobi and Beijing.
Speaking shortly after the Memorandum of Understanding was penned, Youth Affairs, Sports, and Arts Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba said; “We are very excited that today we have signed an MOU between China and Kenya to develop the area of film and the creative industry in general,”
“This is a big day. It’s not just about film. It’s about strengthening cooperation with an important global player,” said Namwamba who expressed hope that there will be a very robust cooperation that will lead to the opening of the floodgates of Chinese tourists to Kenya.
Namwamba lauded the pact describing it as a milestone, especially given the relationship that exists between Kenya and China since the establishment of diplomatic ties 60 years ago.
“We envision an explosion of partnership between China and Kenya. Some of the very areas we look forward to getting under this MoU is exchange programmes between the Kenya Film Industry and the Chinese Film Industry,” noted the CS saying the two countries will explore cooperation in the area of co-production arrangements between artists from the two countries.
“Remember China is a huge country with a population of 1.4 billion people right now. If you are able to get just a fraction of that market, through this film interaction, that will add immense value to our tourism market with a huge economic ripple effect,” he said
While lauding the MoU, Mr. MAO Yu, the Executive Deputy Director-General of the China Film Administration, said the China-Kenya Film Festival is important to the implementation of President Xi Jinping’s commitment during the FOCAC summit to the effect that the two sides were going to carry out the China-Africa People-to-People Exchange Project, particularly by the hosting of film festivals.
He was confident the pact will open a new chapter for the future development of films between the two countries amid optimism of more lucrative ventures ahead.
“Next, we’re going to support the hosting of African film festival in China. We hope film festivals will become a new starting point for deepening China-Kenya film exchanges and cooperation, which will further inject new momentum into the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and make new contributions to promoting a high-level China-Africa community of shared future,” said MAO
MAO indicated that just like Kenya, China boasts a tradition of recording history and culture through the lens. He said film has become an important form of art to demonstrate the development and changes in Chinese society, to display the spirit and longings of the Chinese people, and to promote the fine traditions of Chinese culture.
Since the 21st century, he disclosed that China initiated a new round of industrial reform in the film sector and achieved remarkable results.
“In the year 2019, China produced about 1,000 films a year, with an annual box office of 64.2 billion RMB（about 10 billion $US, m) making China the world’s second-largest film market. This year as of now, the box office in China is approaching the same level of market performance compared with the year 2019,” He said
“We are confident that the Chinese film market has embarked on the track of high-quality development and is becoming a significant driving force and contributor to the global market,” he averred