By Tofunmi Oriola
With an unwavering commitment to providing investment opportunities to African artistes through tours, live music events, concerts and talent management, a new Pan-African platform, BridgeAfric, has been launched in Lagos, Nigeria.
The exciting grand event took place at the prestigious Alliance Francais in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, with the European launch scheduled for January 31, 2024, in the enchanting city of Paris, France.
The event, moderated by Ma et Mota (twins) from Senegal and OTB from Nigeria, brought together music professionals, top-tier corporate executives, African artistes, music and entertainment stakeholders, celebrities, corporate executives, and local and international media across the African continent to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the creative industry and to explore ways to support its growth.
The BridgeAfric President, Victoria Nkong, who is also one of AFRIMA’s associate producers, described BridgeAfric’s birth as a revolutionary initiative that would bring stakeholders together to share ideas and build networks that can drive the development of Africa’s creative industry.
She said BridgeAfric is here to support African talents and market, promote, and distribute African music in territories where a majority of music consumers have and previously haven’t interacted with African music resulting in African artists drawing in countless new fans every day.
Beyond the beat, she noted that BridgeAfric provides a platform for artists to make money, showcase their music and reach a wider audience, while also offering a range of business opportunities, such as ticket sales, sponsorships, and merchandising.
An elated Nkong noted, “Given the vastness of the African continent and challenges enumerated, our objective is to facilitate collaborations and partnerships among African artists and between African artistes and Western superstars and brands, continually exposing them to new audiences through touring, showcasing, ticketing sales and talent management.”
Speaking on the BridgeAfric’s logo, she said it showcases the African map with dots that indicate connecting the different African countries not only within Africa but within Africa and the world.
She, however, noted that the logo is still a work in progress as the complete work would be unveiled at the Paris launch early next year.
While unveiling the BridgeAfric’s logo, AFRIMA’s Executive President, Mike Dada, who is also the patron, described Nkong as a very selfless, loyal and committed individual who has always excelled in whatever she does.
The AFRIMA President advised music and creative industry stakeholders to come together in order to consolidate the successes so far.
He emphasized the importance of collaboration among different players in the industry, including artists, producers, distributors, and policymakers.
Earlier, during an exciting panel session titled ‘Collaboration As A Tool for Developing Africa’s Creative Industry, featuring Ayo Animashaun, Wendy Harawa from Malawi, Dare Art Alade, Sam Oyemelukwe, St. John Freeman and TG Imorin.
The panelists, sharing their concerns about the industry, highlighted the need for partnerships that would help to promote African creativity, improve access to markets, and create a conducive environment for innovation and growth.
In his own submission, Ayo Animashaun, media entrepreneur, CEO, Smooth Promotions and Executive Producer, The Headies, berated those he described as reaping off artistes as he submitted that any industry that’s not supported by the government will suffer great consequences.
To Dare Art Alade, a Nigerian multi-platinum Afro R&B singer, songwriter and record producer, popularly known as Darey, “We must collaborate with the corporate organisations. Our artistes are vibrant, they are kind of open. But most artistes don’t understand how to make money back. They just want to enjoy themselves and perform on the biggest stages.”
Wendy, an artiste, promoter and talent manager from Malawi, described the BridgeAfric as a platform meant to bridge the gap among African artistes.
She said, “I believe BridgeAfric is the bridge we have been waiting for. when you collaborate, you increase your network and fan base.”
In his own submission, former Lagos state commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde described the BridgeAfric initiative as a welcome development as he noted that while AFRIMA has always been coming out with very rich discourses at its annual Business Music Summit, the BridgeAfric would serve as another level of engagement.
With attendees buzzing with excitement about the possibilities that the new platform could bring to the African business landscape, it was clear that BridgeAfric had made a significant impact with its launch in Lagos, and the future looked bright for the platform.
Spicing up the evening with electric performances were talented French-Congolese, Hiro; Tanya (Burkina Faso) Eltee (Nigeria), Lulu (Malawi); and DJ Humility (Nigeria) among others.
They brought energy and excitement to the stage with their dynamic performances.
Top dignitaries that graced the grand evening event included PMAN President, Pretty Okafor, Kenny Ogungbe, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc, Akinloye Oladapo, Emeka Onwumere, Adaora Alumina Mbelu, Karishma, Harrisong, Nigerian media personality, Olisa Adibua, among others.