Every year the Africa Soft Power Project observes its conference – an initiative aimed at harnessing Africa’s innovative creative and cultural industries, to move the continent forward. Since its inception, it has created a remarkable platform for thought provoking and insightful conversations aimed at transforming Africa’s creative industries.
This year’s summit themed “The Bridge: the past, the present, the future”, will stand as a monumental discussion on exploring the prospects of the African creative industry. More so, the platform will continue with discussions on tapping the continent’s creative capital, as well as forging a lucrative future for the creative industry for Africa and the diaspora.
Africa can be described as the home of creativity. Music, art, film, fashion, and all other forms of creative expression have one thing in common, the ability to effectively connect and involve people through narrative. But the continent’s creative industry has taken on added significance as, African celebrities are smashing geographical boundaries to make their works more visible globally.
From Ghana’s own Abraham Atta picking up top-awards on the international stage for his role the Netflix original film, “Beasts of No Nation”, to Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, African creatives are blazing the trail. In music, contemporary African artists are generating a stir while films from the continent now feature on platforms such as Netflix, generating both local and foreign traction. In fashion, African designers have found their way to various international runways.
However, these examples only begin to scratch the surface of Africa’s artistic vastness and creative diversity. Already estimated to be generating billions in revenue across the African continent, the rapidly increasing cultural and creative industries (CCI) sector in Africa is expected to become one of the major drivers of sustainable development and economic growth on the continent underscoring the need for financing and investments in the sector. The need to properly support the creative arts industry cannot be over-emphasized and forums such as the Africa Soft Power Series definitely creates the platform that engender conversations necessary to address the needs of the industry
The Africa Soft Power Project Hosts a Series of Sessions on the Creative & Cultural industries May 2021: The Africa Soft Power Project (ASP) has returned this month with the launch of the 2nd edition of the Africa Soft Power Series virtual summit focused on Africa’s Creative & Cultural industries (CCI).
Taking place between May 5 th – 25 th , the event will include high-level sessions and 80+ speakers, examining how the continent can harness the power of its creative and cultural industries to effectively propel itself forward, while championing the inclusion of African voices and the voices of the diaspora community in global discourse.
Attendance to this unique event is free, register here: https://bit.ly/AfricaSoftPower Africa is not Next, Africa is Now Themed ‘The Bridge: The Past, The Present, The Future’, the global gathering will see thought leaders, influencers and pioneers engaging in a longer and broader conversation on Africa’s creative power, knowledge economy, and how these assets can strengthen ties between the continent, diaspora community and the wider world.
The sessions – on film, music, fashion, sports, technology, finance, art, social impact and more – will explore tangible strategies and new initiatives for accelerating economic growth and retelling the African story on the world stage.
“This year’s Grammy Award wins for African artists Burna Boy and Wizkid show that this is Africa’s time,” says Nkiru Balonwu, Founder & Convener of The Africa Soft Power Series. “The global reach of these artists and the inspiration that they bring not only to Africa and its diaspora community, but to young people around the world, highlights the growing influence of African creativity globally. The creative and cultural sectors can be a strong catalyst for investment, employment, and future economic growth across the continent and beyond.” In addition to changing narratives and supporting growth, the theme, “The Bridge is about connecting and enabling Africa and the global black diaspora to engage, build, and develop together, a more progressive future – a more connected future that will benefit all of the world”, explained Obi Asika, Co-Convener of The Africa Soft Power Series.
Similar sentiments on the power of Africa’s creative industries and the need to build a progressive and connected future were echoed by Afrexim Bank President – Professor Benedict Oramah at the Africa Soft Power February event ‘The New Face of African Collaboration’. According to Oramah, “The creative industries can be potent vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies.” 1Yofi Grant, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre said: “Africa can be described as the home of creativity.
Music, art, film, fashion, and all other forms of creative expression, have one thing in common, the ability to effectively connect and involve people through narrative. “The need to properly support the creative arts industry cannot be over-emphasized and forums such as the Africa Soft Power Series definitely creates the platform that engender conversations necessary to address the needs of the industry. The opening session – ‘Africa Now: Defining The Future’ featured Keynote from foremost French diplomat, author, global thought leader – Ambassador Rama Yade. Ambassador Yade director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and senior fellow for the Europe Center. At the age of thirty, she was appointed France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs and human rights.
She was the first ever French minister for human rights and first woman of African descent to become a member of the French cabinet. She was also ambassador of France to UNESCO and was instrumental in the designation of World Heritage Site for the French natural sites Causses and Cévenne. She is the author of several books, including Blacks of France, Letter to the Youth, and A Chronicle of Power. After serving France, Ambassador Yade’s aim is to serve the African continent where she was born. Visit the website for other unmissable sessions. May is Africa Month The Africa Soft Power Project seeks to establish May as Africa month.
The series was launched to specifically coincide with UNESCO Africa World Heritage Day (May 5 th) and culminate on Africa Day (May 25 th), the anniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity. By establishing one month out of the year to celebrate African and diaspora achievements, the Project intends to normalise the continent’s inclusion within global conversations and make it a more regular – and familiar – fixture. “We are excited to be a part of the global community highlighting the history of Africa Day and bringing new energy to its recognition through Africa Month,” said Dr. Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center based in New York City’s Harlem community. “At a time where African voices on the continent and throughout the Diaspora continue to push the dialogue about what is possible for Africa and its people forward, there is no better moment than now for us to turn our attention toward each other and into tangible ways of collaborating and building closer connections that benefit us all.”