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AFRICA CAN AND SHOULD BECOME A LEADING CULTURAL EXPORTER

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When we think about African art, our minds are almost immediately redirected to the few pieces available in museums across the world. Yet, even so, little remains known about African art and the history behind it. Africa teems with incredible art and talent that deserves to be showcased on the global stage. Displaying authentic African art in partnership with Africa is instrumental in regaining control of the continent’s narrative globally. Although the level of creativity across the continent is unmatched, so much is yet to be done when it comes to identifying and nurturing aspiring African artists. African artists can potentially become cultural ambassadors not only for their country of origin, but also as cultural representatives for the continent as a whole. Investing and betting on art and culture to portray a more accurate and authentic vision of the continent must be part of the strategy to expand Africa’s soft power globally. Yet, we must ensure that we empower local artists by

AFRICA’S GREATEST ASSET: OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

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Young people indisputably play a key role in nation building. Africa’s population is predominantly a young one, with 6 out of 10 people under the age of 25, which confers the continent with a potential significant competitive advantage when it comes to global workforce in comparison with more developed, and aging, parts of the world. However, young people on the continent are not being put in a position to actively participate in sustainable development. Lack of access to education and high unemployment rates still hinder young people’s ability to turn their dreams into reality. These very issues are at the root cause of the brain drain phenomenon, which has been dispossessing the continent of its young and brightest. The time has come, and is long overdue, to not only think practically about how best to empower young people across the continent, but also to implement solutions to endemic issues they are facing. Here again, public and private actors must work in tandem to ensure that t

Going Global: What’s Next for the African Filmmaking Industry

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For most filmmakers being selected to compete in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and achieving the international recognition that comes with it, is a career highlight. This is no different for African filmmakers. However, only a select few have made it.   Today, as discussion around diversity and inclusion play a more prominent role in the filmmaking industry as whole, questions are being asked about international representation at global events, such as the Cannes Film Festival. Answers to these questions often circle back to how we can help to grow local and regional filmmaking industries. The African filmmaking industry has been maturing slowly but surely, evolving at the rhythm of the continent. Thanks to technological advancements, the industry is now finally able to expand. However, there are still some challenges keeping the industry from achieving its full potential and these should be addressed on the continent first.   As a matter of fact,  there are several different f

THE AFRICA PRIME INITIATIVE – SUPPORTING CREATIVES WORKING IN THE VISUAL ARTS IN AFRICA

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Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic the creative industry around the world has suffered. Actors and other performers, writers, producers, technical crew, and the whole host of talented people involved in putting on the TV shows, films, plays and other art forms we love so much have found themselves out of work and struggling. This is even more true in developing economies, such as in Africa, where governments simply do not have the resources to fund the furlough schemes we have seen rolled out in advanced economies.   Helping creatives in Africa to get back on their feet and producing new work is not just good for creating employment and helping to drive economic growth, but it is good for the soul of a nation and is vital work.   The challenges of the past year have been one of the main motivations for launching the ‘Africa Prime Initiative’ (API), the new philanthropic arm of Africa Prime, the video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming platform curating pan-African content for a global

ACHIEVING THE AFRICA WE WANT THROUGH BETTER REGIONAL INTERGRATION

In the wake of the post-colonial movements started across Africa in the 1960’s, pan-Africanism was born. With it came the idea that the continent’s challenges would be solved by African people, for African people. Although this pan-African vision of a united Africa solving common challenges has regained popularity, achieving it requires better coordination and cooperation from all involved. Furthermore, promoting a higher level of social inclusiveness and ownership solutions mustn’t be overlooked as each and every African citizen must have the opportunity to contribute to a better Africa.   With this comes the role of intra-African integration, which aims to facilitate trade and movement of people, as well as data and information transmission. Regional integration directly aligns with the Ubuntu philosophy which is a cornerstone of African culture. Finding solutions to common challenges must be done together.   Although a fully integrated Africa has been challenging to achieve, we must

AFRICA’S STORYTELLING TRADITION MUST PERSIST

Storytelling has long played a central role in African societies with storytellers often holding a special place as the keepers of history and tradition. However, with migration, Africa’s stories have left the continent and are now disseminated across the world. Taking full ownership of our stories through new Afro-centric content requires us to reclaim our rich storytelling culture. With digitalisation, we have observed a renewed and increased interest from the diaspora in stories from home, as well as a strong desire from African creatives to share their authentic stories with a wider international audience. Observing these two dynamics has made it apparent that only by mutually strengthening collaboration between the diaspora and locals will we be able to ensure our storytelling tradition endures. Here again there is important work to be done to ensure we enable such collaboration to thrive. We must create an enabling environment, composed of structures facilitating knowledge sharin

A CASE FOR HOMEGROWN LEADERSHIP

For too long Africans have been spectators watching others come up with solutions to the continent’s socio-economic development challenges. However, the tide has started to turn with more and more Africans vocal about the need to take ownership and come up with African solutions to African problems.   There’s a new forward-looking generation of talented and ambitious individuals eager to take back control the continent’s narrative and bring about solutions from an African perspective.   Nevertheless, adequate resources and pan-African knowledge-sharing programs are urgently needed for this generation to be successful in taking leadership positions across all spheres of influence.   Providing an enabling and intellectually stimulating environment must be an integral part of the strategy to grow the upcoming generation of African leaders. Identifying overlooked talent must also be part of this strategy and education is the best place to start.   Poverty remains the main obstacle to impro