This year saw the launch of a new Africa-focused virtual summit – The Africa Soft Power Series, centred around the theme of ‘Creative Power: Content, Culture & Platforms – Where is the Money?’. The 15 day event was hosted online by Nigerian organisational strategy and stakeholder engagement firm, RDF Strategies, alongside Dragon Africa, in partnership with a number of other organisations, and saw speakers from across industry sectors come together to discuss how best to propel Africa forward using soft power.
All 15 sessions from the summit can be viewed for FREE on the platform’s YouTube channel here: http://youtube.com/theafricasoftpowerproject
Speakers offered their insights and experience across a range of topics, as well as actionable steps towards harnessing Africa’s soft power to advance strategic interests and shape global conversations.
The goal of the conference was to enable people reimagine the continent in all its glory and infinite possibilities, by exploring the incredible power of our creative industries to change Africa’s global narrative for the better. Some of the most important takeaways were collaboration, interdisciplinarity, access to capital, adequate infrastructure, and the need to build a true and lasting bridge between Africans and people of African Heritage around the world.
Some key messages from the programme include:
Yofi Grant, C.E.O, Ghana Investment Promotion Center, speaking at the ‘Reopening Africa, An Opportunity to Reboot’ session: “I see the African continent as the last real bastion of investment or the real last opportunity in the world, but I also see this decade of 2020 as Africa’s decade. So, for us, whilst it was meant to actually sound a clarion call for Africans to start looking back at the continent it also for us was the initiation of Africa’s decade.”
Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director, IC Publications, speaking at the ‘Africa, What Next?’ session: “I think that network effect is very important within the industries because ultimately we have to help each other, people need to see role models and those role models would help others get on board and into the media to become African producers and directors. And once you’ve got people who are producing and directing, they will bring others on board as well.” He went on to say, ”Having that representation within international media houses will influence and impact the way they report on Africa and so I would say it is especially important.”
Moky Makura, Executive Director, Africa No Filter, at the same session: “It’s not so much about challenging media to tell a proper story, as long as they’re reporting facts, that’s what they should do but where I think we need to be careful is what narrative our stories are feeding,” emphasized Moky, “I think what we need to be doing as Africans is telling more of the stories that we want to represent us, we don’t do that enough.”
UK Barrister and Former Deputy Mayor of London for Social Integration, Matthew Ryder, speaking at the particularly well-received ‘Black Lives Matter, Global blackness, Transnational Solidarity and Allyship among black people’ session: “Our culture, our heritage, and the connections we have in so many positive ways, also unite us. So, while we are struggling together to overcome racism and injustice, we should also realize that we do not have to unite simply based on our victimhood, we have other positive ways to celebrate together.”
US Civil Rights Attorney, Benjamin Crump, at the same session: “When you think of black lives matter that’s not just an American term, that’s a global term that we have to continue to proclaim from the mountain tops”. He goes on to say, “We have to have more dialogues to connect us because at the end of the day, we are all children of Mother Africa.”
Pearl Thusi, Actress, TV Host, Model and Radio Personality, speaking at the ‘Global Africans, Building and Redefining the Continent’ session: “We may not be able to change much about what happens in the next 20 to 30 years but the change that is going to be impactful is the change we may not live to see and that change will be what we teach our children. To make sure that the future they live in is a secure future for our grandchildren”.
Following the success of the series, the Africa Soft Power Project will be launching other initiatives to reinforce its vision of optimizing the creative and knowledge industries to propel the continent forward. An upcoming deep-dive podcast series – planned for launch before the end of the year, will bring the same level of expert insights as seen during the summit and allow for more in-depth discussions.
About The Africa Soft Power Project
The Africa Soft Power Project is a movement focused on how Africa can harness its creative and knowledge industries to transform its trajectory. For more information, please visit: www.theafricasoftpowerproject.com