Ruto Promises a New Dawn for Kenyan Talent with Hollywood in Sight

President William Ruto addressing Kenya Revenue Authority gathering, November 2023.

President William Ruto has boldly declared that Kenya is on the verge of making a significant splash in Hollywood as his administration intensifies its focus on nurturing the creative arts sector.

Speaking at the National Drama and Film Festival Winners' State Concert held at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County, on Thursday, the President unveiled comprehensive plans aimed at catapulting Kenyan talent onto the global stage.

President Ruto announced that his government had forged strategic partnerships with several major global enterprises, including Grammy Global Ventures and Invention Studios.

These collaborations are expected to pave the way for the establishment of the Pan African Recording Academy and potentially position Kenya as the African headquarters for these influential entities.

“Shortly, we will see Kenyans participating in Hollywood scripts,” President Ruto confidently stated, underscoring his vision for Kenya's creative talents to gain international acclaim.

In a pivotal move for the educational sector, President Ruto directed the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to develop specialized training programs for teachers in the performing arts. This initiative aims to bolster the competency-based curriculum, particularly in Junior Secondary, where performing arts and Sports Science have recently been integrated.

A picture of a student presenting her play during the National Drama Festival Finals, April 16.
DP Gachagua

“The goal is to cultivate a cadre of educators who are not just versed in the arts but are specialists in propelling our young talents to excel both locally and globally,” said Ruto, highlighting the importance of tailored educational frameworks to support creative industries.

Further emphasizing the government's commitment to leveraging digital platforms, President Ruto revealed that Kenya has secured lucrative deals with Byte Dance, the parent company of TikTok, and Meta, which owns platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. 

“We have signed deals with Meta and TikTok to monetize content produced by our young people,” stated Ruto.

These agreements are designed to monetize content created by Kenyan youths, offering a new revenue stream and greater exposure for local creators.

During the same event, several schools and educational institutions were recognized for their outstanding performances in the drama and film festival. Butere Girls took home the Communications of Kenya Challenge trophy, while Nyeri National Polytechnic was celebrated for the best play by a TVET institution, an award sponsored by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Givavee Friends Primary School, Mombasa Secondary School, and a team from the Nairobi region also received accolades for their exceptional contributions to the festival, which saw a participation of nearly 24,000 people this year, according to Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

“This festival not only showcases the rich talent we possess but also sets a foundational stage for our youth to leap into global creative spaces,” Machogu added, echoing the President’s sentiments.

A picture of a student acting during the National Drama Festivals Finals, April 16.
DP Gachagua