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Nigeria will ban foreign models and voiceover artists from advertisements in the country, the first country in the world to do so in an effort to boost local talent, Al Jazeera reported Tuesday.
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria announced the measure last week, which observers said would mark a noticeable change in a country where non-Nigerians have long been common on the air and radio waves.
It will enter into force on Oct. 1.
Officials said that ban would apply to “any advertisement targeted or exposed on the Nigerian advertising space.”
Under the new legislation, “ongoing campaigns” will continue to run until the end of their term, but “subsequent applications for re-validation for continued exposure of such material will not be granted.”
The regulatory council noted that the law aims to help develop Nigeria’s advertising industry, estimated to be worth about $450 million in 2021.
A study between 2017 and 2021 projected that Africa’s largest economy will become the world’s fastest-growing revenue generator in the entertainment and media industry in the next five years.
Advertising representatives and local actors added that the laws reflect a “new sense of pride” among young Nigerians who want to see themselves represented in the media.
Even so, many social media users were divided on the new measure, with one actor saying it was a “dangerous, retaliatory step” that “would hurt us.”
Others have argued that the ban does not expressly target white actors, pointing out that the phrase only refers to “foreign” talent.