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African Culture Has Become A Global Export -Adesina

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has lauded the increasingly growing influence, diversity and prospects of African arts and culture, saying that it has become a global export.

The Bank chief made the observation at an event where Ghana shared its rich cultural legacy with participants during the Bank’s 2022 Annual Meetings, which ended in Accra on Friday.

The evening lived up to its promise, beginning with a poem read in the Ashanti language, praising the power of African solidarity. It was followed by traditional music from the region.

Moreover, the participants discovered the majestic dance of the Akan people of Ghana, as well as a variety of dance steps, performed by male and female dancers to the sounds of balafons, and drums played by women and men, demonstrating the historic harmony between the genders in African societies.
Male and female dancers performing dance steps, to the sounds of balafons, djembes, and drums played by women and men. The evening was lively for invited guests who danced to the sounds of traditional Ghanaian music and other rich sounds from the continent.

Dr. Adesina noted that culture in Africa had become an industry, with Nollywood now ranking alongside Hollywood and Bollywood and generating $7.2 billion, and still growing.

Nollywood, according to him, directly employs 300,000 people and a further one million in supply and support services. He added that the streaming platform Netflix has set up shop in Africa because the continent’s cultural industry is thriving, innovative, and creating jobs and wealth.

“Netflix is here in Africa, bringing $8 billion of investment to Africa…Our soft power is a strong tool to reshape the narrative, create wealth, showcase opportunities, and present a young, dynamic, and vibrant Africa to the global audience”, he said.

He also recalled the importance of culture in the continent’s socioeconomic development, as well as in the expression of its subtle power. He said the Bank was working with the continent’s cultural actors in the arts and fashion, with the creation of Fashionomics, a Bank initiative to enhance the textile industry and fashion.

“For decades, the beauty, brightness, and masterful tapestries of Kente cloth (a fabric worn in some West African countries) have become synonymous with African fashion. The fashion industry’s income-generating and job-creating potential in Africa is why I said the African Development Bank had created the Fashionomics initiative.

“This initiative provides capacity building, entrepreneurial skills, networking opportunities, and increased access to finance, for designers and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses…African culture has become a global export”, he added.

In his remarks at the occasion, Ghana’s Finance Minister and Chairman of the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Governors, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, said his country was proud to welcome Africa to Accra to reflect on the challenges of climate change and building resilience on the continent.

“Welcome to a celebration of African culture. I think we can all understand that we need platforms such as these to showcase, promote, and ultimately preserve our rich and diverse cultural heritage.

“Africa is the cradle of humanity and the second-largest continent. Africa has an enviable cultural heritage with a rich diversity of languages, natural organic foods, vibrant music and dance, beautiful fashion, inspiring arts, and strong traditions that have stood the test of time”, he said.

The minister noted that when you come to Africa and you are looking for energy, culture and people, come to West Africa and the diversity of Nigeria alone, he said, will blow you away, and of course the beauties of Ghana.

The minister also pointed out that Africa is home to a third of the world’s languages which ranges between 700 and 3,000.

“I am convinced that tonight’s activities will be a success even beyond tonight. I can assure us all here that the African Development Bank Group will do everything in its power to fully support the creative sector and ensure that our cultural practitioners are empowered and allowed to showcase their talents on as many global platforms as possible. In doing so, we aim to build stronger bonds of solidarity, peace, and stability across the continent”, he stressed.


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