Post Event Commentary: African Creative Industries Investment Summit (ACIIS)

On Wednesday the 10th of April, 2013 we seemed to deliver the impossible; bringing the magic of Surulere* to the heart of Covent Garden, in London. The summit stretched Amoo's place4BRICS and was only made possible by the overwhelming support that creatives themselves, and other professionals, volunteered to make this happen. From our Gold Sponsor, the British Council to titan media partners IC Publications and BRICS Business magazines (who also flew in from Moscow) who gave us global coverage by donating full spread adverts in their international
physical magazines, and online platforms like afrimind who wrote a brilliant piece on the case for investing in the creative industries, it took "a village to raise ACIIS".

On the day, we were raring to go with over 100 attendees in the room and several thousand** more viewing live via the mobile OHBoX streaming app. The initial technical and operational challenges were quickly forgotten once the keynote presentation and subsequent panel discussions kicked off. Speaker after speaker shared practical insight that kept our audience engaged and asking lots of questions during Q&A segments. At the end of each session, most of our speakers were surrounded by an eager congress of delegates who were keen to pick their brains and to connect.

Popular themes through the day were creative business models, digitization of content across Africa, monetization and e-publishing of content, making talent and creative projects more investment ready, and the impact of mobile and social media on several parts of the value chain in the creative industries. From the feedback received, the challenges and opportunities discussed inspired and left our audience positively charged. Adesope, our indomitable host who also happens to be a professional television presenter, helped usher conversations along as there was so much to cover in so little time. The daytime summit ended on time with a well-received summative closing plenary session followed by a hypnotic musical performance by Venus Bushfires.

The evening's palatial reception at the House of Commons was hosted by Ms Diane Abbott MP, founder of BWMB. Her words resonated with dignitaries and guests. UK-based ambassadors and attaches from British Virgin Islands, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago as well as the former British High Commissioner to South Africa, Lord Paul Boateng were in attendance. We even had Newcastle upon Tyne Central's very own Chi Onwurah MP also there to show support for the initiative.

In many ways, the day was a reflection of essence of Africa. More incidentally, several reunions also occurred. We were told of media professionals and former colleagues who had not seen each other in nearly twenty years. There was also the random meeting of two cousins who had not seen each other in fifteen years and then bumped into each other. What makes the familial story more remarkable is that the cousin had flown in that day from Lagos, Nigeria especially for ACIIS!

If you attended and have any stories about your ACIIS experience we would love to read from you. As our first summit we are keen to learn as much about what worked for you, what inspired you most (or least!), new connections you made, and how it may or may not have helped your business bottom line. Email or fill out the online form - only takes two minutes! We are also particularly keen to read from you if you would like to support ACIIS 2014.

Alex Boyé, who attended the daytime and evening events, was full of praise for the line-up; I am sure he wouldn't mind us dedicating his hit cover song 'GOOD LIFE' below to each speaker/contributor as well as the amazing professionals that worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support us and make this event a reality including John Mensah, Simon Vandi, Edwina & Irene, John Butt, Ifeoma Dike, Bamidele Aly, Tojake Ukwade, Naomi Giwa and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. Thank you!

Sandy Sah, Ernest Okwudike, Nzube Ufodike, Godman Usman

British Council, BWMB, Conduit Ventures, place4BRICS, Professionals for Africa, and The Africa Centre

Media Partners:
afrimind, BEN TV, BRICS Business Magazine, IC Publications, Nigerian Watch, OHBoX TV, Vox Africa