Recent reports indicate that Latin American and Indian soaps have taken Cote d’Ivoire by storm. The country is not an exception since foreign soaps, which have been a regular fixture across Africa since the 1970s, are still tightening their grip on the continent. The proliferation of TVs amongst households in Africa coupled with the soaps’ simple storylines have added to their increase. There were nearly 55.34 million TV households in the region in 2015, a number which is projected to rise to almost 75 million by 2021.
While foreign soap operas are entertaining and key to exposing Africa to other cultures, local content should not take the back seat. A generation of young Africans which knows more about foreign countries and football teams but little about their country and continent is emerging. Since TV programs have important effects on individual attitudes and behaviours, there must be a deliberate resolve to tap into their proliferation, nurture local content developers and produce strategic local content that will rally Africans to understand their history, environment, struggles, exploits, potential, global position, opportunities and need to turn the continent’s challenges into business solutions. This will spur productivity and socio-economic growth.