Despite the present boom in the culture and music industries of Africa, the major challenge facing the industries remains how to find ways to sustain the growth and spread the benefits to larger layers of the society through significant job creation and poverty alleviation.
This submission was made by the President/Executive Producer, All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, Michael Dada, during his presentation at the 4th Pan African Cultural Congress on May 26, 2015 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Organised by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, the three-day PACC4, with the theme: “Unity in Cultural Diversity for Africa’s Development,” opened on Monday and will be brought to a close on Wednesday.
The congress featured thematic presentations and plenary and panel discussions encouraging participatory interactive discussions moderated by carefully selected moderators.
The presentations were prepared by expert in each of the themes and sub-themes.
Addressing participants on the theme: “All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA: A tool for promoting African Culture and Identity for Development,” Dada described music as an integral part of African culture to promote brotherhood, solidarity and the struggle for liberation.
He referenced history saying African musicians over the years had produced rich and inspirational songs on political independence for African countries, the problem of apartheid in South Africa, the need for African countries to unite, and ultimately, the development of the continent.
He said: “African musicians have also composed different songs that challenged hegemonic nations and organisations such as the United States, France, United Kingdom and most importantly the United Nations on policies which affect Africans at home and in the Diaspora. They also support the campaign for enthronement of democracy in Africa and sing against any policy of governments that is anti-people.”
The AFRIMA president emphasised that this decades long effort by African musicians has resulted in economic growth in Africa as shown in a report produced by PricewaterHouseCoopers: On the continent, South Africa is the biggest media and entertainment industry valued at $10.5 billion in 2013; Nigeria is in second place at $4 billion and Kenya is in third place at $1.7 billion.
Said Dada: “The report projects that by 2018, these industries will have risen dramatically to $17.1 billion, $8.5 billion and $3.1 billion respectively. However, the economic growth must be transformed into economic development and thereby create a new Africa. It is the positive aspects of music, which are immense, that All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) seeks to promote. AFRIMA is a combined effort to recognise, award, promote and preserve Africa’s rich music culture. Besides, it is a platform to communicate the unique image and culture of Africa to the world for global competitiveness. In AFRIMA, we believe music can play a wonderful role in fulfilling this historic task. The economic revival has unleashed a wave of creative energy and inspired hope. We strongly hold that music and cultural industry can help create good jobs and raise consciousness about developments and the needed change in Africa. Thus, working in partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA has set out to contribute to the realisation of the objectives of those laudable plans of the AU through music, culture and tourism.”
Dada revealed that already, in preparation for the 2015 edition of the continental awards project, AFRIMA and African Union Commission held a Joint Conference/Roundtable Discussion in Addis Ababa on April 29, 2015 under the theme: “Using Music, Culture and Entertainment as tools for a new Africa.”
Other distinguished speakers at PACC4 included: Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko; Minister of Arts and Culture, South Africa, H.E. Mr Nathi Mthethwa; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zimbabwe, Dr. Thokozile Chitepo; Director General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, CBAAC, Sir Ferdinand Ikechukwu Anikwe, Independent Curator, Ms. Ngone Fall; Secretary General, Arterial Network, Mr. Peter Rorvik; Executive Director, Godown Art Centre Kenya, Ms. Joy Mboka and Director General, Afro-Arab Institute, Dr. Mohamed Salem Soufi, amongst others.
The congress also featured exhibitions, music and dance as well as a celebration of the ‘World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development’ – a United Nations sanctioned international holiday for the promotion of diversity issue marked on May 21 each year.