By Mark Kawalya
In an effort to strengthen Kenya’s creative industries and boost the development of the new crop of upcoming storytellers, Netflix inked a two-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenyan Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.
The move is the first of its nature for Netflix in Africa, and will involve skills and capacity development, developing the creative sector infrastructure, digital consumer protection and investment in local content.Currently, Netflix has committed funds to the development of three Kenyan co-productions, which will be unveiled at a later event closer to their premier dates on Netflix.
This will open the world to Kenyan storytelling and showcase the organic sights and sounds of Kenyan culture.Netflix will support human capital development and institutional capacity building that will boost the digital content ecosystem in Kenya.
“We welcome this partnership with Netflix because Kenya has many stories to tell the world, and all the initiatives with the various partners will help us ensure we have the ability to create quality stories” – said ICT CS Joe Mucheru.
Netflix’s commitment will include its Creative Equity Scholarship Fund for Africa that is being administered through HEV A Fund that is meant for the East Africa region.
Additionally, as stipulated in the MoU, US $100,000 will go towards funding scholarships for 30 beneficiaries that will go towards covering tuition, learning materials and living expenses in support of the Kenya Film School and the Africa Digital Media Institute.
A further US$200,000 has been set aside towards scholarships for upcoming creatives to study at other Kenyan institutions that train in film and TV production.
Similarly, there is a scholarship opportunity for upcoming Kenyan creative minds to study for a Masters in International Screenwriting and Production (MISP) at the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.
Netflix will also work with the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) to promote responsible digital parenting and safe viewing practices for consumers of digital content and the entire Netflix membership.Netflix will additionally partner with the Communication Authority of Kenya under its campaign of Child Online Protection (COP) that was launched in 2021.Generally, ICT infrastructure in Kenya has seen growth which presented good business environment for OTT platforms like Netflix.
The MoU will facilitate job creation in the country but will also open up training opportunities for screen sector development.