Presentation by Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa at the Emerging Cinema Market Conference 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.
I am happy to be the guest minister from Zimbabwe once again gracing this auspicious gathering. My presence here speaks volumes of the trust, faith and confidence on the film industry prospects of my country.
Under President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic, we are emerging from the penury of geopolitical isolation and morass of economic mismanagement. We are poised to take our rightful place as an African country of promise, prosperity and vibrancy.
We have proved to the whole world that we are a people that can withstand great hardship as we maintain political unity, stability and peace. We have indeed a tried and tested State defending a populace that values organisation, discipline and hard work. We pride our pole position as Africa’s most educated society by UNESCO standards.
Our Diaspora is a source of national pride. It performs well in diverse employment jurisdictions across various labour markets. With our new political order, we are determined to be the destination of choice for discerning foreign direct investment.
We are striving for jobs galore as hard work delivers quality goods for choice global markets working for world class enterprises enticed to the Zimbabwean market by lucrative incentives.
The ensuing socio-cultural milieu will be conducive to the creation of a Zimbabwe “Zollywood”.
Our colonial heritage of a sizeable and naturalised white population of English stock bequeathed Zimbabwe a head start in capital infrastructure development.
The post-colonial restitution of our natural rich farmlands and our mouthwatering natural resources has given our populace the wherewithal to accumulate home-grown wealth.
Building upon the colonial head start alluded to earlier, Zimbabwe is within reach of growing its own pulsating middle class. The high literacy rate will be harnessed by technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will give issue to a seamless assimilation of the digital economy.
Zimbabwe is clearly poised to deliver an exciting market for the cinema industry in the footsteps of other developing nations that have attained prosperity status. Equally, it will emerge as a hotbed for the creation and production of quality cinema content.
Besides its people, its scenic mountainous scenery and open savanna plains, bountiful wildlife have features that can only enthrall film directors. The Victoria Falls is a haven for film directors that love romantic scenes on the set of the African safari.
Zimbabwe will surely deliver that mix of unspoilt African beauty showered with aspirations of modernity without Hollywood pastiche.
The history that spawned the Great Zimbabwe’s traditional civilisation is the stuff of legends.
The epic sacrifices in modern warfare for independence and nation building in the Southern African sub-region engender awe, pride and admiration. All said, Zimbabwe has that staple of content diet to whet the appetite of scriptwriters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is gratifying to note that ECM 19 has chosen to focus on Africa. This is an acknowledgement of a now widely accepted fact that the world is gravitating towards a rising Africa in so many respects.
I’m informed that in the next decade, emerging cinema markets in Africa are poised for growth to reach the US$2 billion mark, largely driven by demographics.
The cinema industry
Turning to my own country, Zimbabwe, we are excited by the fact that it is among the top 20 emerging cinema markets and therefore cannot be left behind because the future of the industry is in Africa.
The growing population in Africa has been mentioned, the vast potential in locations for shooting movies has been acknowledged as well as the virgin talent in Africa’s rural areas, towns and cities of actors, actresses, producers, you name them.
Talk of Zimbabwe’s own Danai Gurira in “Black Panther”, Zimbabwe’s own Tongayi Chirisa in “The Jim Gaffigan Show”, talk of the Kenyan Lupita Nyongo, the South African Eliza du Toit and so many others.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am discussing with you what Africa can contribute to the cinema industry. Now why can’t my beautiful Zimbabwe host ECM 20 at our premier tourist spot, the majestic Vitoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World?
You all know that besides being a tourist paradise, Victoria Falls is a suitable location for shooting movies. The exquisite natural environment, richly blessed with abundant flora and fauna, makes an ideal destination for discerning film-makers.
Besides the above reasoning, hosting ECM in Zimbabwe, Africa, will be recognition of your theme at this conference as well as the tremendous progress registered by African cinema. It will also be an opportunity to bring closer to our people and stakeholders current trends in the cinema world and enable the developed cinema world, as Rob Aurthur aptly puts it “discover new growth territories.”
Stakeholders in Africa’ nascent cinema industry will easily participate at ECM 20 and I’m sure the organisers will ensure that participation costs are friendly.
What a better way to allow the small-time film producer, small- time actor/actress, small-time cinema suppliers, operators to showcase its talent, ingenuity and inventiveness during ECM 20 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.