Ex Afrexim Comms. Director Disagrees With ARCON On Foreign Models, VOA Ban In Advertising


The former Director & Global Head of Communications of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Obi Emekekwue has condemned the decision of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON)’s ban on the use of foreign models and Voice Over Artists in Nigerian advertising.

Noting that while the ban may have been well-intentioned, he explained that it could hurt the industry and the country in the long run because it is likely to elicit retaliation from other countries who will, in turn, ban Nigerian models and voiceovers in their adverts.

“Since Nigeria continues to dominate in the communications and entertainment sectors, such a ban on Nigerian models and voiceovers will impact Nigeria negatively,” the communication expert noted.

Emekekwue who is also the Chief Executive of DelReeve Konsult Limited further explained that the policy is wrong timing, considering that the Federal Government and other African nations are implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which offers a free trade area for African trades, including unrestricted labour.

“The ban runs counter to the spirit of the AfCFTA project which is hinged on free “trade” among African countries. By imposing a restrictive ban on non-Nigerian models and voiceovers, Nigeria is portraying itself as working against the success of the AfCFTA.  Under the AfCFTA arrangement, products and services, including models and voiceovers, are supposed to be able to move freely across African borders,” he said.

Baring all benefits of the ban, he however said, “while the intention is noble, the long-term result will be negative. Exceptions often create room for some groups to profit. I think that the solution is to identify the reason why some adverts utilise foreign models and voiceovers and, then, find ways to address them. It could be a matter of training or the availability of facilities and equipment. My view is that Nigeria stands to benefit much more by operating within the ambit of the AfCFTA, particularly taking into account the country’s comparative advantage in the sector.

Mr. Emekekwue then called on ARCON to suspend the ban while working with stakeholders to come up with other options.
“I think that ARCON should withdraw, or suspend the implementation of the ban. It should then work with industry stakeholders to identify the reason why foreign models and voice-over artists are being used in certain adverts. It should then come up with policies to address those reasons. It should encourage the advert industry in Nigeria to do what it takes to create an environment that enables Nigerian models and voiceovers to be able to deliver the quality of service demanded by advertisers,” he concluded.

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