A private equity fund worth R1.5 billion is set to change the media landscape of the entire continent.
The Africa Media Fund, launched on Friday in Sandton, Johannesburg, to a room of international luminaries from various government and industry sectors, promises to take African media into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and market it to the world.
Spearheaded by diplomat, entrepreneur and social activist Dr Khumoetsile Moetse, the AMF is set to invest in large-scale infrastructure in media assets on the African continent with a specific focus on existing networks in South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Tanzania. Expansion into Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda – and further afield, into the United States and Germany – is also on the cards.
“The establishment of the Africa Media Fund is but one of many solutions to challenges of connectivity, broadcasting, broadband and practical elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” explained Moetse. “The fund’s mandate is to invest in media infrastructure, and unlock opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution while stimulating entrepreneurship in the creative sector. We have three pillars, in so doing: education, entertainment and empowerment.”
The fund’s key priorities are to fast-track transformation within the film and broadcasting sector; partner with governments across the continent in closing funding gaps that exist in capitalising, distribute and market local content worldwide; and accelerate investments towards media infrastructure. These are evident in their flagship programmes, which includes a data centre already in the first tier of development, a streaming facility, and a global African newsroom.
Further investment in innovation hubs, play-out facilities, data centres, broadcasting technology broadcasting channels, post-production facilities, film studios, AVR equipment are all under consideration, too.
“We are looking at the entire ecosystem – not just a content perspective, but at the issue of connectivity,” explained Moetse, who is also group chairperson of Inure Africa Holdings, a company which focuses on the development of intellectual property rights and integrated digital strategies for content production and distribution.
As a former marketing practitioner, reputation specialist and senior strategist in various government institutions and state-owned enterprises, as well as sitting on the advisory board of the Local Content Task Team as the country prepared for digital migration, her vision of a connected, collaborative continent is a result of the challenges she faced when trying to launch her own media company.
“I’ve always worked in government, so I know where opportunities lie, and what challenges are faced for those wanting to tell their own stories,” she said. Clearly, this change maker sees opportunities simply as challenges, and has taken up the challenge to not only push the African narrative, but to do so profitably.
“Our continent is currently seen as the ‘last frontier’. Unless we ensure improved infrastructure, connectivity and tourism, education and integrated digital platforms, smart cities among other things, we will continue to be left behind,” said Moetse. “Access to market, alternative forms of education, self-education, online marketing in the medium and language they understand, is very limited – presenting great opportunities for investment.”
Promising socio-economic impact across the media ecosystem, from content on demand to AI capabilities and more, AMF is more than a funding and development opportunity for aspiring media players – the intention is to offer a platform for investors that will not only impact job creation and poverty alleviation on the continent, but also grow a sustainable, profitable industry that impacts the world.
“Media as an asset class in Africa has not taken off as fast as in other jurisdictions around the world, due to its negative perception centred around: ‘whoever owns the money, owns the media asset, and dictates the content and distribution’,” notes Moetse.
But with the industry on upward trajectory thanks to 4IR, “There is money to be made by investors and funders through media assets, which comes with technology that gets consumers to interact with information and content from a variety of gadgets and platforms. Many well-established fund managers are expanding their underlying investment offerings to include additional asset classes such as media. So to those institutions with deep pockets, we are saying: here is an investment platform.”
Find more information on AMF here
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