The Stream

Will Nigeria’s ban on foreign models help bolster local talent?

On Thursday, September 8 at 19:30 GMT:
Nigeria has become the first country in the world to announce a ban on foreign models and voiceover actors in advertisements. The move, which takes effect on October 1st (Nigerian Independence Day), is intended to bolster homegrown talent and the local economy, according to the country’s advertising regulatory council.

Foreign faces are a common sight in Nigerian advertisements, and voiceovers often feature British accents. But proponents of the ban say there has been a cultural shift among young Nigerians who want to see more representation on-screen and on-air.

Steve Babaeko, the president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, explained: “People will tell you, ‘There are about 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?'”

One reason for the historic lack of representation in advertising is that many commercials in Nigeria have been produced by foreign marketing houses. But Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is projected to host the world’s fastest growing entertainment and media industry in the next five years.

The foreign models ban should help facilitate local growth, but for now reactions remain mixed. Many Nigerians support the idea of seeing more of their countrymen and women on the air. But some worry that the ban will inspire other countries to enact similar protectionist measures.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll talk to industry experts about the ban and its intentions, why a change is needed and if the strategy will work.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Obi Asika, @obiasika
Founder, Cabal Entertainment & Creative industries entrepreneur

Adia Sowho, @adiaspeaks
Chief Marketing Officer, MTN

Pheodor Mundia Njoroge, @PHEODORMUNDIA
Board Executive, Marketing Society of Kenya