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The 2022 Africa Soft Power Summit

by Femme Staff
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The 2022 Africa Soft Power Summit will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 26th – 27th. Celebrating Africa’s unique creative, knowledge and digital industries, the summit will combine sessions, networking activities, and local events, as the summit celebrates its return to a real-world setting following the Covid-19 pandemic.  

May is Africa Month

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’, as the Africa Soft Power Project (ASP) at large seeks to establish the continent’s creative and knowledge industries on the world stage.

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.

The event aligns with the playoffs and finals of the Basketball Africa League – a sports event highlighting Africa’s expanding sports economy. Speaking on 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.”

Creative endeavour with commercial viability

In addition to showcasing African talent, creativity and sports, payment is also a key focus area in this year’s programme:

“Creative talent and innovation thrive on monetization, and monetization is unquestionably linked to payment. Payment is the trigger for trade and as such an efficient payments system will have an accelerating effect on trade. Payments between African states simply cannot continue to travel halfway around the world before returning to the continent.”

“Africa must build, own and control its payment rails specifically designed to solve uniquely African challenges if it wants to control its economic prosperity and future! This is where PAPSS comes in” said Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).”

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. 

Some of the speakers already confirmed for the 2022 Summit include:  

  • Gina Din-Kariuki, Founder and Executive Chairperson, Gina Din Group
  • Benedict Oramah, President, Afreximbank
  • H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA
  • Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, PAPSS
  • Crystal Rugege, MD, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda
  • Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Director, Africa, IATA 
  • Kojo Boakye, Director, Public Policy, Africa, Middle East & Turkey, Facebook
  • Jude ‘M.I.’ Abaga, Founder/CEO, TASCK Agency
  • Victor Williams, CEO, NBA Africa
  • Naledi K. Khabo, CEO, Africa Tourism Association
  • Gbemi Disu, Executive Director, Carnegie Mellon University Africa

Beyond networking

“What Africa’s creative and cultural industries bring to the global economy is unique, and as the world moves out of the pandemic era and back into real-world settings, this year’s event will showcase the growing power of the digital, creative and knowledge economies,” said Nkiru Balonwu, Founder & Creative Director of the Africa Soft Power Summit.

“These sectors are particularly important on the continent itself, which has been forecast to make up a significant part of the world’s population by 2050. 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.”

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