To Drive Progress for Continent, Africa Soft Power Summit 2022 Calls for Collaboration

Precious Ugwuzor

Ahead of the 2022 Africa Soft Power Summit in Kigali, leading stakeholders across Africa’s creative and knowledge industries, have called for increased collaborations, towards the advancement of the continent’s creative and knowledge eco-system.
With the Africa Soft Power Summit celebrating its return to a real-world setting, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakeholders, drawn from diverse sectors across Africa’s creative and business sectors, have thrown their weight behind the summit, focused on ‘Africa & the Global Community, while calling for increased collaborations across diverse sectors, towards enabling laudable growth for the continent.

Billed to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 26th – 27th, the 2022 Africa Soft Power Summit will feature combine sessions, networking activities, and local events, in celebration of Africa’s unique creative, knowledge and digital industries.

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, expressed that there is no better time than now to leverage deliberate collaborations to drive growth and significant progress for Africa’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 abound 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.
“We are excited to throw our weight behind the African 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,” says Dickson.

Speaking on the upcoming event and the progress that it will enable for the continent, Nkiru Balonwu, Founder & Creative Director of the Africa Soft Power Summit, stated that what Africa’s creative and cultural industries bring to the global economy is unique.

“This year’s event will showcase the growing power of the digital, creative and knowledge economies. Modern economies are shifting, and if African countries are quick to embrace this change, we can create more homegrown opportunities, hold onto our brightest minds, and be a pioneer in building the creative and digital sectors of the future.

So, in addition to showcasing the African CCI to the world, we also want to showcase its potential to the public and private sectors domestically and provide a blueprint for future growth.” Nkiru said.

Originally founded as a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Africa Soft Power Summit continues its theme of promoting May as ‘Africa month’, while the Africa Soft Power Project (ASP) 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 & Operations, Basketball Africa League said, “Africa’s real power is in its people. Sports has 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 Africa Soft Power Summit 2022, 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.

“We need to connect Africa better through a codependent ecosystem of trade, travel, tourism and business in the most sustainable way and we are extremely confident that this collaboration with the Africa Soft Power project, will help bring this to life in the most remarkable ways,” Adefunke said.

Speaking about the collaboration with ASP, Benedict Oramah, President, Afreximbank, expressed that the summit aligns with the objective of the institution, especially around stimulating a consistent expansion and diversification of African trade, to rapidly increase the continent’s share of global trade.

Specifically, the 2022 programme will focus on ‘Africa & the Global Community: The New Face of Collaboration’, examining how Africa’s digital, creative and knowledge economies can be leveraged to benefit the continent, the global diaspora community, and beyond.

 Sessions will include sports, film, music, fashion, financing/digital infrastructure, tourism/trade, and payments.
Some of the speakers already confirmed for the 2022 Summit include: Benedict Oramah, President, Afreximbank, Gina Din-Kariuki, Founder and Executive Chairperson, Gina Din Group, Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, PAPSS, Jude ‘M.I.’ Abaga, Founder/CEO, TASCK Agency, Crystal Rugege, MD, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda, Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Director, Africa, IATA , Balkissa Idé Siddo, Director of Public Policy, Africa, Facebook, Victor Williams, CEO, NBA Africa; Gabby Otchere-Darko, Executive Chairman, Africa Prosperity Network; Naledi K. Khabo, CEO, Africa Tourism Association and Gbemi Disu, Executive Director, Carnegie Mellon University Africa.
Previous speakers at ASP events have included senior-level executives from companies like Netflix, Apple, MTN, ESPN, PayPal, Facebook, Sotheby’s as well as thought leaders, artists and celebrities such as Mona Eltahawy, Jidenna, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Benjamin Crump, Hakeem Belo Osagie, Nandipha Mntambo, Yofi Grant, Siba Mtongana, Amadou Fall, Tunde Folawiyo and others.

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