The Capital Gap: Nollywood and the limits of informal trade

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Journal of African Cinema, Vol: 4, Issue: 2

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McCall, John C
Nigeria; Nollywood; video industry; pan-Africanism; popular video production
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This article examines Nollywood as a creative industry based in Africa’s informal sector. By definition, the informal sector produces no financial records, so no quantitative economic data are presented. This research utilizes ethnographic methods and anthropological analysis to highlight the importance of the video movie industry to Nigerian people, its place in their economic life and its integral role in their culture. Nollywood’s intimacy with Nigerians has been achieved by way of the industry’s distinctive informal system of production and distribution. This same informality prevents the video industry from establishing financial legitimacy. Without the ability to generate capital, the industry is straining against its economic limits. Thus, the cultural success of Nollywood pushes it towards inevitable formalization and uncertain consequences.