BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
The Africa Soft Power Project (ASP) will this month launch the 2nd edition of the Africa Soft Power Series virtual summit focused on Africa’s Creative & Cultural Industries (CCI).
Taking place between 5th – 25th May, 2021 , the event will include high-level sessions and more than 80 speakers, examining how the continent can harness the power of its creative and cultural industries to effectively propel itself forward.
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, etc, will explore tangible strategies and new initiatives for accelerating economic growth and retelling the African story on the world stage.
Commenting, Nkiru Balonwu, founder & convener of The Africa Soft Power Series said “This year’s Grammy Award wins for African artists Burna Boy and Wizkid show that this is Africa’s time”.
Balonwu added that “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.”
Obi Asika, co-convener of The Africa Soft Power Series said “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.
Similar sentiments on the power of Africa’s creative industries and the need to build a progressive and connected future were also echoed by Afrexim Bank President, Professor Benedict Oramah at the Africa Soft Power held February this year.
Prof Oramah said that “The New Face of African Collaboration, the creative industries can be potent vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies.”
The opening session, ‘Africa Now: Defining The Future’ will feature Keynote from foremost French diplomat, author, global thought leader, Ambassador Rama Yade.
Ambassador Yade is 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.
Other speakers on the session include: Laureine Guilao; CEO, TipMe Liberia and former Deputy CEO MTN Liberia; Nmachi Jidenma; Head of Scouts & Partnerships, Sequoia Capital. Prior to Sequoia, she led global strategy at WhatsApp Inc. She also previously led partnerships at Facebook and spearheaded global business development at PayPal; Shikoh Gitau; CEO Qhala and Member, COVID-19 ICT Advisory Committee, Government of Kenya.
The session will be moderated by Sophie Masipa; CEO Kgommuu International and former Head of Communications and Media Relations, Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The conversation will explore how Africa’s teeming youth population are taking decisive steps to shape their evolution into formidable global leaders and moving beyond talks of the continent’s potential to securing a future where our place in the global economic and cultural space is assured.
The Africa Soft Power Project seeks to establish May as Africa month. The series has been specifically timed to begin on UNESCO Africa World Heritage Day (May 5th) and culminate on Africa Day (May 25th), 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,” Iweala added.