Africa Walk, an annual event by investment firm Platform Capital, will be held in Nigeria and Senegal from July 24-27. It aims to bring together global investors and stakeholders to dispel misconceptions about Africa’s creative industry and foster investments in music, cuisine, art, and movies on the continent.
Africa’s creative industry—its movies, music, art and food—has captured hearts and headlines worldwide. However, despite its glaring potential, there persists a myth that Africa’s creative landscape is an impenetrable wilderness, leaving investors hesitant to explore its vast potential. To challenge these negative stereotypes and illuminate the way for significant and sustainable investments in Africa, investment firm Platform Capital initiated Africa Walk. Africa Walk is an annual event that brings together investors, companies, and key stakeholders to experience Africa firsthand. In this year’s edition, guests will be experiencing the creative sectors, including music, cuisine, art, fashion, and film on the continent.
Speaking to TechCabal, Dr Akintoye Akindele, Platform Capital’s founder, highlighted the mission of Africa Walk: “We started this to quell the negative stereotypes that make investors shy away from the opportunities and potential of the continent,” he said. The inaugural event in 2021 provided an agnostic view of the small and medium enterprise landscape in Nigeria and Kenya. In the second edition, Africa Walk journeyed investors to South Africa and Nigeria, where they delved into the booming tech ecosystem. The third edition, themed “Unleashing the Value and Potential of the African Creative Industry”, will take place in Senegal ( July 24-28) and Nigeria (July 29-31).
Since its inception, Africa Walk has been strategically selecting countries to focus on based on the unique strengths and attributes each region offers. The upcoming third edition will happen in both Senegal and Nigeria, a francophone and an anglophone country respectively. Akindele explained the choice saying, “We want to show that language is not a barrier but a bridge. So the Africa Walk will start from Dakar and then end in Nigeria.” The company says that it chose Senegal because of all the francophone countries, it has the most international traffic, tourism attraction, and commendable tech infrastructure which supports the creative industry. “From Dakar, investors and stakeholders will continue their journey to Cote d’Ivoire before concluding in Nigeria,” Akindele said.
Despite its vast potential, the creative industry in Africa has often been perceived as lacking the proper infrastructure to enable investment. “African artists like Rema have made millions of streams on foreign streaming platforms. Nollywood movies are grossing millions of naira at the box office, how can foreign and local investors get a piece of that?” Akindele asked rhetorically. Africa Walk will address this question through insightful panel discussions involving key stakeholders, including Nigeria’s Bank of Industry.
Even within the African continent, negative stereotypes about the creative industry persist. “Parents want their children to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, but no one walks up to write exams for admission into university thinking that they want to be an actor or a comedian, or an artiste. There is low regard for the professions in the creative industry,” Akindele pointed out. To combat this stigma and showcase the value of creative careers, Africa Walk will feature successful creative professionals as speakers, including actors and other entertainers. Their stories will demonstrate that working in the creative industry is not only respectable but can also lead to tremendous success, just like traditionally accepted professions.
Africa Walk breaks away from the traditional conference-style event, offering much more than just panel discussions. It brings together creatives, policymakers, investors, and institutions to engage in insightful conversations. However, the event goes beyond discussions by providing attendees with micro-views of the creative industries in each country and an immersive experience of the local culture. This includes exhibitions of various cuisines, diverse forms of art, and creative showcases that highlight the region’s talent and ingenuity.
According to the company, over the past two years, the Africa Walk initiative has been instrumental in securing more than $200 million in investments for African companies. Platform Capital looks forward to fostering investment in Africa’s creative industry through the upcoming event.