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Experts seek collaboration to drive progress for Africa’s creative, knowledge sectors

By Waliat Musa
23 May 2022   |   2:22 am
Ahead of the 2022 Africa Soft Power (ASP) Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, leading stakeholders across Africa’s creative and knowledge industries have called for increased collaboration towards advancement of the continent’s creative...

Africa Soft Power Project<br />

Ahead of the 2022 Africa Soft Power (ASP) Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, leading stakeholders across Africa’s creative and knowledge industries have called for increased collaboration towards advancement of the continent’s creative and knowledge eco-system.

With the Summit celebrating its return to a real-world setting, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakeholders have thrown their weight behind the event, which is focused on Africa and the global community.

Sharing his thoughts on the role of quality partnerships in creating an improved narrative for African creative talents, prolific Nigerian rapper and record producer, Jude ‘MI’ Abaga, said there is no better time but now to leverage deliberate collaborations to drive growth and significant progress for the continent’s creative industry.

“A large pool of talented youth, doing great within the entertainment sector, we already have. It is imperative that we work together and collectively to harness the huge talent that abounds on the continent.

That is the only way forward towards greater representation and positioning, especially on the global scale,” he said. Dickson Nsofor, Kora’s co-founder and CEO, believes the summit will help push a positive narrative for Africa and connect the continent even more strongly to the world.

He said: “We are excited to throw our weight behind the Africa Soft Power Summit because of our shared commitments for creating a positive African narrative. While the ASP Summit is focused on leveraging the creative industry, among other initiatives, to push a positive narrative for Africa, we, at Kora, are leveraging our pan-African payment infrastructure to connect Africa to the world.”

Billed to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 26 to 27, the Summit will feature combined sessions, networking activities, and local events, in celebration of Africa’s unique creative, knowledge and digital industries.

Speaking on the upcoming event and the progress it will enable for the continent, Nkiru Balonwu, founder and creative director of the Summit, said what Africa’s creative and cultural industries bring to the global economy is unique.

Originally founded as a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Summit continues its theme of promoting May as ‘Africa month’, while the Africa Soft Power Project, at large, seeks to establish the continent’s creative and knowledge industries on the world stage.

Speaking on the rationale behind the collaboration with ASP, John Manyo-Plange, Associate Vice President, NBA Africa, and Head of Strategy and Operations, Basketball Africa League, said: “Africa’s real power is in its people. Sports have a pivotal role to play in projecting that power on the continent. The excellence of our sportsmen and women is on display every day, on every pitch, field and court. We need to do more at home to create a robust industry, infrastructure and ultimately tap into the skills and talents of our sports stars to grow our economies. Our goal is to project that soft power globally and give meaning to the label, Made in Africa.”

On the role of collaborations, in building a sustainable travel and tourism industry, Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Director, Africa International Air Transport (IATA), expressed her excitement about being a part of the Summit, adding that the platform is significant not just for the development of Africa’s creative industry, but also for the growth of the travel industry and the African economy at large.