France President, Emmanuel Macron, was fulsome of praise at Africa’s culture and its creative industries on display during his visit to Lagos on Tuesday.
The Event, which was the launch of the French Season of African Cultures 2020 in Lagos Nigeria was sponsored by leading pan-African bank, Ecobank.
The event, entitled ‘A Celebration of African Culture’ was held at the New Afrika Shrine – which was the home of the legendary musician and composer Fela Kuti – focused on Africa’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and honoured Africa’s creators of art, design, film and fashion.
President Macron told the audience at the event that he is determined to champion a new narrative about how Africa is perceived and that the African Cultural Season 2020 is one of the ways to project the continent positively.
“When I say we need new narratives, what I mean is that we need you people to make these narratives. I see a new generation of artistes, of entrepreneurs, of people coming from civil societies, of journalists, of intellectuals coming from Africa and explaining, speaking about Africa in Europe and everywhere” he explained.
“I believe that we have to build together, a new and common narrative. And this new common narrative is not based on what is important for Europeans, but what is important for Africa about their culture – how they want to build their culture, how they want to explain their culture, how they want to promote their culture and which places are important for them for these promotions.
“We decided to organize African Cultural Season 2020 in France for several reasons. It is about a team of young creatives coming from different parts of Africa. You’ll have contemporary artistes, painters, people involved in fashion, movies, visual arts, architecture… all different arts existing and present in Africa, especially Nigeria,” he said.
Charles Kie, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria said: “President Macron’s support is indicative of African cultures’ growing international influence. Whether it be blockbuster films such as Black Panther, our global superstars in the music industry, our artworks in the top international auction houses, our models gracing the premier fashion catwalks, or our dance and our food, Africa’s culture is having a huge impact on the global stage. Africa’s creative industries are a vital ingredient of our continent’s economies in our relentless pursuit of increased diversification and global competitiveness.”
“Ecobank’s digital strategy is fully centred on bringing financial integration and inclusion to the African continent and our innovative products such as the Ecobank Mobile App, the Xpress account and Ecobank Pay are all empowering African consumers and business alike by providing the 24/7 functionality, convenience, accessibility and instantaneous transactions that they need. Ecobank is totally committed to playing its part in supporting the development of businesses and trade that will bring the sustainable growth to African economies and provide the bedrock of increasing prosperity for all in Africa.”