MTV base and energy giant Shell are teaming on a project aimed at raising the standard of African music video production.

In a statement, the two companies revealed that U.K. video director Nick Quested (Nas, Timbaland, Diddy) and R&B singer Amerie will be among the rollcall of international talent taking part in the initiative.

Up-for-grabs is the opportunity for African artists to have a video shot, edited and produced by an internationally-acclaimed music video crew, and with a special guest appearance from an international star.

The first-stop is South Africa, where Quested and Amerie will work with the local artist chosen by MTV base viewers through an SMS-voting mechanism.

"A great video is a powerful marketing tool which can enhance and uplift an artist's music, while communicating their artistry, vision and personality to their fans - helping them to sell more albums and bringing them to the attention of new audiences," comments Alex Okosi, senior VP and managing director, MTV Networks Africa.

"On the other hand," he adds, "a badly shot or poorly constructed video can really detract from your enjoyment of a track, and ultimately your perception of the artist."

MTV base is a 24-hour English language music television channel that claims to reach 48.5 million African viewers in 10.5 million households in 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Other continent-wide outlets for African music videos include Channel O, which is owned by M-Net and, like MTV base, is available via the DSTV satellite service throughout Africa.

In other news, MTV base has struck a deal with 5fm, the nationwide South African Broadcasting Corporation-owned commercial station.

The Johannesburg-based all-hits radio station will be the home for a regular four-hour Saturday morning chart show, which kicked off Oct 6. MTV 5fm Total Request Live (TRL) Radio with KFC, presented by Nicole Fox, draws on content from MTV's global entertainment network and features a chart that will partly reflect listener's choice.

The deal with 5fm is not MTV base's first foray into radio in Africa. In August, the channel announced the inception of a show on Kenyan radio station, Capital FM, a weekly two-hour MTV TRL Radio show.