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Music in Africa Foundation marks fifth anniversary

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Aisha Deme, MIAF Chair

Initiated as a small project under the banner ‘Music In Africa’ in 2011 with the support of Siemens Stiftung, Goethe-Institut and partners from across the continent, the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) has quickly grown into one of the most recognisable and active pan-African arts organisations with operations across sub-Saharan Africa.
 
“The journey has been an exciting and challenging one,” says MIAF chairperson Aisha Deme.

“We are very proud of the past five years, which have been characterised by hard work, growth, transparency and a clear vision to be the leading source of information and exchange in and for the African music sector.”

 
Some of the MIAF’s key achievements in the past five years include launching the exponentially growing music portal www.musicinafrica.net, which provides musicians with free information and practical tools, an instrument building programme run in South Africa, a mobility fund that supports musicians and festivals, training programmes in many African countries, and recently the introduction of ACCES – the only pan-African music conference held in a different African city every year.
 
Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, the MIAF has set up satellite offices in Nairobi, Lagos, Dakar and Kinshasa.

The Foundation works with a dynamic team of contributors and music researchers around the world.
 
The Music In Africa portal, which is the MIAF’s flagship project, is used by millions of people.

It has become the first port of call for exchange, information about African music and career support for musicians.

Since its launch in 2014, the portal has done extensive research and reporting in 38 African countries.

Plans are under way to expand coverage into all 54 African countries by 2022.

The portal offers content in two languages: French and English.
 
Apart from the portal, the MIAF is doing important work through a host of offline projects such as the Music In Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES), which returns this November.

ACCES was developed by the MIAF to assist music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES was successfully launched in Dakar, Senegal, in 2017.

This year, delegates from more than 50 countries will attend the event at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi from 15 to 17 November.
 
Additionally, the Foundation is making strides in the music development field through the Music In Africa Connects (MIAConnects) project.

The project is implemented in Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria (North), Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, all of which are countries affected by war or conflict.

Music professionals in these countries receive mobility support, training and performance opportunities.

By December 2018 more than 250 musicians will have benefited directly from the project.  

The MIAF is also fostering the professionalisation of music instrument making in Africa with its Instrument Building and Repair (IBR) project, which piloted in South Africa in 2016.  

The second edition of the IBR project is planned to take place in South Africa next year with trainees and experts from across Africa coming together to learn the craft of instrument building, curation and monetisation.

“We couldn’t have done all of this without the help of our partners, members, board and subscribers,” says MIAF director Eddie Hatitye.

“On our fifth birthday, we want to thank them for all the incredible support they have given us.”
 
Precisely, the MIAF’s mission is to support the African music sector through promoting knowledge exchange and creating opportunities and capacity for those who operate in the sector.

“Our strategy for the next five years includes plans to introduce a fully fledged, pan-African mobility fund, open an office in Northern Africa, diversify our funding base and increase our reach across the continent,” Hatitye said.


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