In partnership with the Open Society Foundations, African Export-Import Bank, Nigeria Bank of Industry, and Axxess, and in cooperation with Semafor, the Atlantic Council will host a public high-level event focused on Africa’s creative industries on the margins of the 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit on December 13-15 in Washington, DC.

Over the past two decades, African markets have unleashed the most significant digital revolution globally. Those markets stretch across a continent that not only includes 17 percent of the entire global population, but also hosts the youngest population in the world: 40 percent of the total population is age fifteen or younger. With the development of streaming services, mobile banking, and digital currencies, the digital economy has become vital for African nations and their partners.

In fashion, from Dior to Louis Vuitton, the luxury market is influenced by African culture. In film, successful movies like Black Panther feature African artists. Additionally, streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ have increased their reach to African audiences. In the music industry, Nigerian artists such as Burna Boy, Davido, and Wizkid have signed with major American music labels.

The Atlantic Council is the only global think tank in Washington, DC, that has placed African creative industries at the center of its work having authored the first report in 2018 and hosted the Africa Creative Industries Summit of Washington in October 2021 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts. From the Sports Business Forum in Senegal to the Financial Engineering Task Force with development banks, the creative industries are the Africa Center’s signature program. The event will feature leading artists from the United States and Africa, investors, business executives, academia, and government officials from around the world who believe in the power of Africa’s creative industries.


9:00 am

Registration & networking breakfast

Welcome remarks

Amb. Rama Yade , Senior Director, Africa Center

Justin Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, Semafor

Master of ceremony
Aubrey Hruby, Senior Fellow, Africa Center

10:00 am
10:05 am – 10:15 am

African art and fashion

A story of fashion
Nina Baksmaty, Founder, KoshieO

Driving Africa’s climate change initiatives through art and culture
Ramatoulaye Diallo, Founder and CEO, Great Green Wall Foundation of Africa (GGWoA)

Fireside discussion: Boosting trade for the creative industries

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister, The Republic of Namibia

In conversation with
Akunna Cook, CEO, Next Narrative Africa; Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

10:15 am – 10:30 am
10:30 am – 10:40 pm

Keynote remarks

Introduced by
Melvin Foote, CEO, Constituency for Africa

Reta Jo Lewis, President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)

Accelerating Africa’s creative industries

Akunna Cook, CEO, Next Narrative Africa; Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Veronika Chatelain, Program Officer, Art, Culture and Social Justice, Open Society Foundations
Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank
Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank of Industry Limited
Samba Bathily, CEO, ADS Group
Audu Maikori, Founder, Chocolate City Group and Pixel Ray Studios

Final thoughts
John Olajide, CEO and President, Axxess

10:40 am – 11:55 am
11:55 am – 12:00 pm

Closing remarks

Aubrey Hruby, Senior Fellow, Africa Center

In partnership with

Open Society Foundations
Africa Export – Import Bank
Nigeria Bank of Industry

In cooperation with


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The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent.