Entertainment of Tuesday, 28 July 2015
It was a rousing reception for the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, in partnership with the African Union Commission, AUC, as the awards project held its AFRIMA 2015 Stakeholders’ Conference for the northern region of Africa in Morocco on Thursday, July 23 at the Sofitel Hotel, Casablanca.
On Friday, July 24, the AFRIMA delegation also had extensive and successful deliberations with the government of Kingdom of Morocco in the capital city of Rabat as represented by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and cooperation, Mbarka Bouaida; Culture, Mohammed Amine Sbihi and Director, strategy and Cooperation, Ministry of Tourism, Tarik sadik.
With the theme: Integration of Africa through Music and Culture, the Stakeholders’ Conference was facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Morocco.
2014 AFRIMA winner for Best Male Artiste Northern Africa, Ahmed Soultan and the Sofitel Hotel Casablanca aimed at communicating the objectives and ideals of AFRIMA to the stakeholders in Northern Africa.
AFRIMA is a continental awards initiative that rewards the abundant talents in the African music industry, while celebrating and showcasing the rich musical and cultural heritage of Africa to a global audience for socio-economic competitiveness.
Some of the objectives of AFRIMA include using music and culture to foster deeper interaction of Africans, enhance creative and skilled capacity in the African music industry to contribute to the GDP of states and reduce poverty on the continent.
The Morocco Stakeholders Conference was attended by members of the Moroccan media, music industry practitioners, corporate sector executives and addressed by the representatives of the International Committee of AFRIMA namely: AFRIMA President/Executive Producer, Mr. Mike Dada; Head of Culture Department, African Union Commission (AUC), Ms. Angela Martins; Chairman, AFRIMA International Media Committee, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; Member, AFRIMA Sponsorship and Brand Communications Committee, Mr. Jire Anifalaja and AFRIMA Project Director, Ms. Adenrele Niyi.
Sharing with the conference participants, 2014 AFRIMA winner Ahmed Soultan said his artistic vision to cross regional borders with his music was further strengthened after winning the AFRIMA trophy at the awards ceremony in Lagos.
“I always believe that as an African, my music must touch base with people who love music either in Africa or abroad. That is why I support what AFRIMA is doing for African music, they are recognising true authentic music and supporting the dreams of many artistes for recognition for their work”.
Similar to the echo from the participants at the stakeholders’ conference, the Honourable Ministers of Culture and Foreign Affairs expressed the desire of the government of Kingdom of Morocco to support and host AFRIMA next editions after the expiration of hosting right of Nigeria in 2016 as AFRIMA objectives aligns with the cultural diplomacy policy of Morocco.
While delivering her speech through Mr. Abdellatif Jouibli, the conference interpreter, Angela Martins, reiterated the African Union’s commitment to the integration of Africans through culture. “The African Union has been collaborating with AFRIMA for a long time because we see it as a platform for the integration of Africans.
The creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy and a powerful force for sustainable development in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings”.
Applauding AFRIMA as a promoter of Africa’s cultural and creative industries, Ms. Martins added that the AU cherishes the collaboration with AFRIMA ‘since it assists us in the implementation of the AU arts and culture policies’.
In his address, AFRIMA President, Mike Dada, thanked the government and people of Morocco for the warm reception AFRIMA received since arrival in the city.
“The infectious smiles and the hospitality have been outstanding. AFRIMA is happy to be here to meet with the stakeholders in the music industry of Morocco and to experience the beauty of your charming country”.
Mr. Dada revealed details of the awards programme of activities in 2015, and announced the new entry submission deadline of Friday, July 31 2015 as approved by the International Committee of AFRIMA.
“The entry submission was between May 18 and July 20; however, this has been extended after we received overwhelming requests from music professionals across Africa.
The International Committee has set Friday, July 31 for the closing date of submission. We hope the artistes and journalists will take advantage of this extension to be a part of the awards this year”.
There was enthusiastic response from the participants during the interactive session. The predominant question asked by the Moroccan artistes and journalists present bordered on the process by which Morocco could bid to host the awards ceremony after Nigeria.
“The bidding process is open to all African countries. Three countries have shown interest already and if we get an official notification of interest from the government of Morocco, before the bidding deadline of January 26, 2016, it will be more competitive”.
The conference closed on a high note with guests networking and indulging in Moroccan cocktail provided by Sofitel Hotel.