If Africa commits to bringing the creative sector to life, African art can breathe new life into the continent.
If Africa is the cradle of civilisation, it is also the birthplace of artistic exploration: this continent produced the rhythms and call-and-response that continue to shape the contemporary music landscape. In the 1970s and 1980s, American musicians turned to Africa as pop and jazz underwent a revival; today, Beyonce pays homage to Yoruba deities in her groundbreaking visual albums. Beyond music, Africa imprints itself on modern art, haute couture, dance, and theatre. But despite the pervasiveness of its influence, Africa’s global share of creative industries remains negligible, contributing less than 1 percent (pdf) to the world’s $624bn trade in creative goods. Bringing Africa’s creative industries to the forefront would be a tremendous force for economic development on the continent.
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