Creative Industries Panel

Creative industries

From creative potential to creative economies: Creating viable business models for African arts and culture

On a global scale, creative industries have demonstrated continued growth, even during times of recession and crisis and contributed significantly to the economy. Africa’s art-and creative landscapes have seen exciting developments in the past years that contributed to their visibility on regional- as well as on a global level. In many cases, creative industries such as the South African music- or the Nigerian film industry already constitute important economic sectors in their countries. Still, much of the overall potential of the sector remains untapped. Transforming this creative potential into a vibrant cultural economy requires innovative concepts. Furthermore, the economic potential of the industry needs to be fully recognised in order to unlock its vast potential.


Besides the direct contribution of the creative industries to economic growth, arts and culture can have knock-on effects on the wider economy through interactions with other sectors and can therefore make a valuable contribution towards diversifying economic growth. Furthermore, developing and recognising skill-based arts and culture can have wider positive social- and environmental implications. In light of the overall conference theme, this panel therefore aims to explore the transformative potential arts and culture hold for building resilient African economies and the business opportunities arising from this. This panel therefore aims to discuss the following key topics:

  1. What potential does the creative economy have in supporting diversified, sustainable growth in African economies?
  1. What does it take to enhance the recognition and growth of the creative industries as an economic sector in African economies?
  1. Taking African arts and creativity to the world: opportunities and challenges to building globally competitive businesses in Africa’s creative industries. What synergies can be explored and what gaps need to be filled?


Moderator: Ronke Lawal, CEO, Ariatu PR

Ronke was born in Hackney, East London of Nigerian parentage. Having graduated with honours from Lancaster University and the University of Richmond Virginia (USA) with a degree in International Business (Economics), she started her own PR and marketing business in 2004. In 2011 Ronke Lawal was honoured to receive a Precious Award for Inspirational Leadership. In January 2010, Ronke became the Chief Executive of the Islington Chamber of Commerce where she remained until the end of 2012 and became a Non-Executive Director of The Hoxton Apprentice in 2011. She joined the Board of Trustees of Voluntary Action Islington in 2012 where she is also a Director of The Voluntary Action Academy and is currently on The Employers Panel for the National Employment Savings Trust. She is a Mentor for The Cherie Blair Foundation and for The Elevation Networks Start Ups Initiative. She is currently on a Board Member of TRiBE, An Empowerment not for profit organisation which aims to give young black women opportunities to thrive. Apart from her active business interests, her varied passions outside the businessworld include food, travel, music, literature and most importantly living a life she loves. Her love for food led her to create The ‘Who’s For Dinner?’ food blog, Ariatu PR represents clients in a variety of industries including the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle & beauty, food and luxury goods sectors with a particular interest in the Africa/Caribbean Diaspora community.


DJ Abrantee, Radio Presenter, Capital Xtra UK & TV Personality

Abrantee is one of to the UK’s biggest and most influential Urban Radio DJ and TV personalities. He has established himself as one of the most recognisable voices and personalities on the urban and African music scene and most notable the newly emerging Afrobeats music scene across UK. Abrantee presents the weekday Drive Time and the Afrobeats show on the radio station CapitalXtra. He also hosts “The Abrantee show” a brand new, thirty-minute television entertainment program. Abrantee furthermore hosted some of the biggest musical festivals and events with the likes of Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Dbanj and T-Pain and has held exclusive interviews on both radio and television. Amongst his grand catalogue of prominent interviews Abrantee has hosted events headlined by African stars such as P Square, 2Face R2Bees, Atumpan, Olu Maintain, Ice Prince, D-Black, Wizkid and others. In 2014, Abrantee received the biggest award in UK radio as the ‘Radio Personality’ of the year at the BEFFTA’s and was nominated for Best DJ at the 2014 Urban Music Awards. Abrantee also adds a BEFFTA Honorary award for his outstanding contribution and pioneering work for the growing Afrobeats Music scene in the UK.


Minna Salam, Founder, MsAfropolitan

Minna is an award-winning writer, blogger and commentator. She is the founder of the pan-African feminist blog, MsAfropolitan, where she writes about African popular culture, arts, mythology and social criticism.  She is a member of Duke University’s Corporate Educator Network and the Guardian Africa Network. Her commentary is featured in The Guardian, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.


Claude Grunitzky, Founder of TRACE Magazine, & Co-founder TRUE Media

Claude is the founder of TRACE, and co-founder/chairman of TRUE, a New York and London-based transcultural marketing agency. In February 2003, Grunitzky and two business partners completed a multimillion-dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group. As a result, the TRACE brand is now being leveraged globally across various television, event and interactive platforms. TRACE, which now reaches an audience of more than 80 million people across 150 countries, was successfully sold to a French investor group in July 2010. Grunitzky was raised between Lomé, Togo; Washington, DC; Paris and London. Growing up, Grunitzky, who speaks six languages and carries three passports, was exposed to many different cultures. These foreign interactions shaped his transcultural philosophy and informed the creative energy of his media ventures. Grunitzky is also the founder of TRUE AFRICA, a new MIT-incubated media venture. An MIT Sloan Fellow and a French American Foundation Young Leader, Grunitzky sits on the board of Humanity in Action, a foundation that works internationally to build global leadership, defend democracy, protect minorities and improve human rights. The recipient of many distinctions, he was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2007.


Nosarieme Garrick, Founder, MyAfricaIs Documentary Series

Nosarieme is passionate to expose the rapid cultural and technological advancements exploding among the youth in Africa. A citizen of the world, with roots in Nigeria and the United States, she focuses on African culture as a writer. Her articles helped establish new ties between the establishment and young African political, economic, technological and cultural leaders. In 2010, she founded Vote or Quench, a youth empowerment campaign educating young Nigerians on the importance of their vote in local and national elections. Nosarieme also spearheaded the live production of the first youth-centered presidential debate. Before starting My Africa Is as a web-based series, she interned with the Economist newspaper and was mentored by the company’s CEO on the business of media. Nosarieme lives to tell stories of young people living, thriving, inspiring and connecting the World community through My Africa Is.





Meet our Keynote Panelists!

Sustainable Growth in times of Global Uncertainty

Africa is currently the fastest growing region in a world experiencing a sluggish recovery since the global financial crisis of 2008. The World Bank has projected that African economies will continue to expand at a moderately rapid pace, with regional GDP growth strengthening to 5.2 percent yearly in 2015/16, up from 4.6 percent in 2014. However can African economies sustain this growth and even increase it to double digit figures?

Africa’s economic growth is now significantly driven by cumulative factors, such as the improving corporate governance and business climate, increasingly demand driven by a burgeoning middle class, a teeming young population with better education, and a receptive investment climate which is steadily attracting foreign direct investment flows in telecommunications, infrastructure, consumer retail and the natural resources sector which many African economies still considerably rely on. Over-reliance on natural resources has been identified as one of the factors that make African economies vulnerable to global events, such as the drastic drop in oil prices in 2014. It is therefore not surprising that attempts are being made to diversify economies. However, can this diversification and growth be achieved through sustainable means?

Ebola had a dire economic impact on growing economies like Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and beyond, exposing weak structural healthcare systems and the fragility of African states to unforeseen events. The outbreak significantly altered the course of economic progress of these countries, with several investments being stalled or, in some cases, cancelled all together. Ebola revealed the need for Africa to have an all-inclusive and sustainable development agenda, which addresses access to good health care and education as decisively as economic growth is addressed. Post Ebola, have African governments realized how imperative it is to view growth from a broader perspective?

Terror groups with links to global terror networks have destabilized regional peace and security, disrupting business and discouraging local and foreign investments, reiterating the fact that Africa’s development must be tackled on several fronts simultaneously for growth to be truly sustainable.

Good governance and accountability continue to be a challenge, with many African countries being ranked as having the highest levels of corruption in the world. How can Africa implement strong governance structures to put her resources into effective use? How can these economies create an enabling business environment? What are the challenges that entrepreneurs face in this environment?

What approach should African governments take to these multifaceted internal challenges while simultaneously dealing with challenges on a global scale? This year’s keynote panel theme is “Sustainable Growth in times of Global Uncertainty” and it is our intention to open the conference with an engaging and candid dialogue aimed at addressing these knotty issues highlighting and proffering solutions that will lead to a stronger and sustainable Africa.

Lanre Akinola

Moderator: Lanre Akinola, Director BMIA (Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa)

Lanre is working with the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, coordinating its inaugural pan-African business media convening. He is the former editor of the Financial Times’ flagship Africa publication, This Is Africa, where he was also a founding team member. Lanre is a 2014 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow and sought after commentator on contemporary media and African affairs.


Sola David-Borha, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC

Sola David-Borha is the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a full service financial group with eleven subsidiaries including Stanbic IBTC Bank, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers, Stanbic IBTC Capital, Stanbic IBTC Trustees and Stanbic IBTC Asset Management.

Prior to this appointment, Sola served as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank from May 2011 to November 2012. She also served as Deputy Chief Executive of the Bank and Head of Investment Banking Coverage Africa (excluding South Africa). She has acted in other capacities including Acting Managing Director of IBTC Chartered Bank PLC and Executive Director for Corporate & Investment Banking.

She served as a member of the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments in 2012, and as a member of the nominating committees of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in 2013 and Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in 2014.


Mo Abudu, CEO, EbonyLife TV

Mosunmola Abudu (Mo Abudu), has made her mark in various fields of endeavor as an Executive with ExxonMobil; to being the Founder of Vic Lawrence & Associates, one of Nigeria’s leading outsourcing firms; the Creator, Executive Producer and Hostess of “Moments with Mo” and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife TV; Africa’s First Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network.

EbonyLife TV is Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network changing global perceptions of the African continent through its broadcast of premium, home grown and original programming. With its on the youth aged 18 – 34 and producing over 1000 hours of premium content, EbonyLife TV broadcasts pan African audience on DSTV platform, in the UK on the Talk – Talk and is now available globally to the world through its recently launched VOD service.

Showing exclusively on EbonyLife TV, Moments with Mo; Africa’s first syndicated talk show continues an impressive list of guests, From presidents to Nobel laureates; from celebrities to governors, including the US Secretary of State; Mrs. Hilary Rodham-Clinton, Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of IMF as well as a honours list of African presidents and leaders among other notable guests.

Recently referred to as Africa’s Queen of Media by a CNN’s exposé, she has been recognized by Forbes Media as the first African woman to launch a Pan-African TV channel and described as one of Africa’s most successful women as well as among the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV by the Hollywood Reporter amongst many other awards.



Devakumar V. G. Edwin, Group Executive Director, Dangote Group

Mr. D.V.G. Edwin holds a Graduate and Masters Degree in Engineering and he is also a Chartered Engineer. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IITM, Holland. He started his career in 1978 and he grew up to the level of Managing Director in 1989 in India. During his career in India in Industrial Management, his areas of focus were industrial engineering, cost reduction, human capital management, general management and project management. He had executed industrial projects funded by the World Bank.

Mr. Edwin joined the Dangote Group in 1992. He has executed almost all the projects of the Group including the spinning mills and the textile processing factory, the packaging materials plant, the sugar refinery, the flour mills, the pasta plant, the cement terminals, the cement plants, the noodles plants, etc.

Having joined the Dangote Group when it was on the threshold of entering into manufacturing activities, Mr. Edwin deployed his wealth of experience to the Group in its growth. He is currently the Group Executive Director (Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development), handling cement plants construction across the Sub-Saharan Africa and oil & gas projects in Nigeria.


David Cowan, Managing Director & Africa Economist, Citi

David Cowan has been the Africa Economist at Citi since July 2007. Prior to this he worked at the Economist Intelligence Unit for a total of eight years as Senior Economist for Africa and the Director of the Middle East and North Africa team. Before joining the Economist Intelligence Unit, he worked for six years as the Principal Research Officer at the Bank of Botswana, the country’s central bank. He also worked for three years for the Economic Research Unit of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has a first degree in Economics from the University of Bath and a PhD from the University of London that examined the impact of Tanzania’s structural adjustment programmes from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s

During his working career, David has built up a wide-ranging knowledge in managing financial and foreign exchange markets in Africa and maximising the benefits of natural resources in African countries.