The President of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Mr. Mike Dada, has made a call for heightened collaborations among African musicians, urging artists to leverage the platform created by the award institution to foster deeper connections and partnerships that will deepen the growth in the creative industry and boost the economy of the continent.
Dada made the call during a recent courtesy visit of emerging superstars KO-C of Cameroon and Miss Tanya from Burkina Faso to AFRIMA’s secretariat in Lagos, Nigeria.
Dada, who is also the Executive Producer of AFRIMA, stated that the rich and diverse musical blend of Africa offers a unique platform for artists to collaborate and create exceptional works that reflect the cultural richness and distinct identity of the continent.
He described this as a key driver for the growth and global recognition of African music.
“We believe in the power of music to bring people together, transcending linguistic, cultural, and geographical barriers. AFRIMA believes that collaborative efforts can contribute not only to the advancement of individual artists but also to the collective elevation of African music on the global stage. We have championed this narrative for years, and we are happy that stakeholders across the continent have keyed into it, which is evident by the acceptance of our craft by the global audience. However, we think there is still room for improvement; we can still tell more of our story through more collaboration, and we can also learn from one another,” he said.
KO-C, who has taken Cameroon’s music landscape by storm, has many awards to his name, described AFRIMA as the foremost music award platform on the African continent that every artist aspires to win.
KO-C, known for his chart-topping hits, including the single ‘Himself’, said, “Trust me, AFRIMA is the number one music award institution in Africa. You have created a platform that is unique and trustworthy; this is one award that has celebrated our success as Africans and provided opportunities for us to grow. As the President said, AFRIMA considers all artists the same; I know everyone has to work hard to win in any category of the award because of a whole lot of transparency you have thrown into it, and that is why all artists on our continent have continued to trust you.”
Tanya, a highly acclaimed vocalist from Burkina Faso, echoed similar sentiments, praising AFRIMA for its role in elevating African music globally.
The artist, who is the first and only Burkinabe musician to shut down the 45,000-capacity Ouagadougou Stadium, stated, “AFRIMA has consistently showcased the incredible talent that Africa possesses. As an artist, being recognized by AFRIMA is a tremendous honour. It’s a platform that allows us to connect with a broader audience and celebrate our unique musical identities. I am really working hard to be a winner someday.”
Dada, thanking the music stars for the courtesy visit, also said AFRIMA was not just an award institution but a unique platform committed to addressing challenges plaguing the continent through the implementation of its core values.
“There are core pillars of AFRIMA, which is why we are different from other platforms: the music award, the music festival, the Africa Business Summit, and the music academy. However, for instance, there is currently a lack of proper set designers and music production facilities in Africa. People learn on the job, as there is no proper school or academy where they can learn in a structured manner. We created the Music Academy to address this issue.
“Advocacy is another important pillar of AFRIMA. We believe that music is not just for entertainment but also a platform to raise concerns about issues in Africa. For example, we will be going to Somalia in March because that country has been at war for over two decades and nobody is talking about it. Children and women are dying every day, but the world has forgotten about them. We use music to encourage stakeholders to voice their concerns. We also draw attention to issues such as child education and health infrastructure and call on governments across Africa to take action.
“Talent discovery and growth are another pillar of AFRIMA. The main difference between artists in Europe, America, and Africa is the lack of access to facilities. Many artists in Africa have to write, produce, publish, and distribute their music themselves, without access to proper facilities. To address this, we have partnered with studios so that artists can record their three-minute songs and make videos for free. We then showcase these videos to the rest of the world through our media platforms, and an investor or record label might hear the music and be interested. We are also advocating for legislation that can allow artists to use their intellectual property as collateral for loans to produce and promote their work.”
BridgeAfric President Victoria Nkong, who was part of the entourage to AFRIMA’s headquarters, concurred with Dada on the need for more collaboration among African artists, especially between the Francophone and Anglophone divides.
“These collaborations are crucial for the growth of music in Africa. Through this process, artists can learn a lot from their colleagues in other countries. Governments are unlikely to do much for us, so we have to take the initiative and develop our sector ourselves. I always encourage artists from other countries to follow Nigeria’s example with the way they are pushing Afrobeat to a global audience. The success of Nigerian music is the result of efforts from stakeholders, and we can replicate that success across Africa,” said Nkong, whose BridgeAfric is creating opportunities for artists in Africa to showcase their talent beyond their countries.