Inaugural event dedicated to advancing the African cultural agenda will feature African heads of state, senior US officials, and icons from arts, film & television, sports, fashion, and music industries

WASHINGTON DC—October 7, 2021—The Atlantic Council’s Africa Center will host the inaugural Africa Creative Industries Summit on Friday, October 15, 2021. The summit will feature senior government officials, cultural icons, and business leaders advancing innovative solutions to unlock the extraordinary potential of the African creative industries, including visual arts, design, and fashion; film, television, and radio; music and performing arts; and literature and publishing.

Speakers will appear from locations across Africa and from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. 

The event coincides with the start of the 2021 the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso, from where Burkinabé President Rock Christian Kabore will open the summit. Featured speakers at the summit include President Nana Addo-Akufo of the Republic of Ghana; President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva of Capo Verde; US Representative Karen Bass (D-CA); Dana Banks, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa, US National Security Council; football player Didier DrogbaCoumba Gawlo Seck, singer and UN Goodwill Ambassador; Ngaire Blankenberg, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art; Akunna Cook, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Samba Bathily, president of ADS Group; fashion designer Alphadi; writer Boubacar Boris DiopMeriem Berrada, artistic director, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden; and special performances from African singers Nomcebo and Mohombi

Additional speakers will be announced ahead of the summit. The full event agenda and the latest list of speakers can be found here.

According to UNESCO, the creative economy generates $2.25 trillion in global revenue, employing nearly 30 million people. Yet, Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of total revenue and 8 percent of creative industries jobs, leaving room for significant growth. Nigeria has served as a case study for the continent’s potential, as it is now home to the fastest growing music and entertainment industries in the world. PWC estimates the creative industries market in Nigeria has risen to US$6.4billion (up from US$3.6billion in 2016).

“I am convinced that through fashion, art, film, gaming, music, entertainment, and sports, African nations can bring a new economic dynamic and a universal message of their leadership to the world,” said Ambassador Rama Yade, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to host such a pivotal event that demonstrates just how strategically valuable the African continent is from a cultural perspective. My hope is that the United States will prioritize culture in its policy towards Africa.”

The summit is aligned with the African Union’s vision for the year 2021, declared as the African Union Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want. The summit will be hosted in partnership with the TRACE network, a global broadcast and digital media company specialized in afrourban music and entertainment. 

The Atlantic Council’s 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.

The Summit is open to press and on-the-record. Registration is available here. For further questions, please contact