At the recently concluded Africa Union CEO Roundtable Conference, convened under the theme “Leveraging the African Union Agenda 2063 for Trade and Investments in Africa” - creative innovators took center stage as they displayed how and why they are critical in the sustainable development of the African continent.
This was elucidated during the ‘Investing in Non-traditional Sectors - Tourism, Creative Industry and Fashion’ Session, on day 2 of the AU led gathering at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The session was moderated by Ms. Leslie Richer, African Union Commission Director of Communication and Information, and Director of AU Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai ; alongside a panel that comprised of Mr. Derrick Ashong, CEO of AMP Global Technologies; Mr. Monde Twala, Senior Vice President & GM of ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Mr. Munya Chanetsa, A&R Lead for Africa, Sony Music Publishing; Ms. Freda Isingoma, Partner at Tradeways LLC and Mr. Samo Onyemelukwe, CEO of Trace.
The culture and creative economy is not one that is seen as a traditionally invest worthy space, although it contributes more than $2.5 trillion dollars annually, remarked Ms. Richer.
Richer went on to say: “This is an industry that has potential in terms of revenue and job creation. A sector that employs the largest number of youth between the ages of 15-30 and when you look at the African continental youth dividend, this is a space we cannot keep on the sides any longer.”
This Roundtable Conference was in line with Agenda 2063, which defines what African people aspire for by the year 2063, among which is their aspirations for an integrated continent of Transformed, Inclusive and Sustainable Economies.
“When we speak of Trade and Investments in Africa, we must also be intentional in including the creative economy in such conversations, because this has been amongst our many leading exports. Music, for example, has been leading global charts for decades and this new generation has redefined the art of sound for the entire globe, rubberstamping the continent’s creative authority as a commodity,” Richer clarified.
“So, art cannot be a sideshow any more. We need to invest in it and empower the next generation in a space they are excelling at. This will help build the Africa we all want,” concluded Ms. Richer.
Ms. Freda Isingoma, Partner at Tradeways LLC, remarked that in order to see growth in the space, the narrative needed to change both on the local and international front.
“The usual conversations on the creative economy usually focus on the creation itself but in order to grow the creative economy, we have to change the language and narrative around it,”
“We need to talk about it from an investment point of view because it is incredibly important for the African renaissance and cultural preservation as well the build of Africa in accordance with Agenda 2063” she concluded.
AU Expo 2020 Dubai Deputy Commissioner General, Mr Chiza Charles Chiumya noted that the current generation of young Africans, is connected, tech optimistic and entrepreneurial; which can boost even further the creative industry.
“Africa is the world’s youngest continent with a median age of only 18 years old, with the majority of them employing creative tools to empower and participate in the economic activities of member states, many of these within the culture and creative space,”
Africa has at least 400 companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, with another 700 firms generating over $500 million a year, in diverse sectors and are globally competitive.
Mr. Chiumya concluded by saying “As the tide turns, many of these economic giants will be replaced by creative organisations, led by our women and youth and thus it is important for this conversation to have been a part of what would traditionally exclude creatives. This change in conference design, allows us to build a more inclusive and sustainable Africa for the future.”
You can catch-up on the two-day Africa CEOs Roundtable Conference, here: Day one. Day two.
The public, media and all other interested parties can keep up-to-date with the latest out of Dubai as well as get all the necessary information surrounding the AU activities or events by visiting the official AU at Expo 2020 website: https://africaexpo2020dubai.au.int/en
For further information please contact:
Mr. Lunga Kupiso, Public Relations & Media Officer - AU at Expo 2020 | Information and Communication Directorate | African Union Commission Tel: +251 115 517 700 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ms. Faith Adhiambo, Media & Communications Coordinator - AU at Expo 2020 | Information and Communication Directorate | African Union Commission Tel: +251 115 517 700 | E-mail: email@example.com | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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