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Share Africa: promoting Africa in the 21st century

Share Africa, a platform launched in 2020 by Franco-Ivorian top model Valerie Ka, is stepping up initiatives to foster African creativity at all levels. 

By DBM

The Share Africa forum was initiated with the aim of participating in the Africa2020 Season, the pan-African and multidisciplinary initiative wanted by President Emmanuel Macron and that seeks to “look and understand the world from an African Perspective.” The forum is first and foremost the result of a personal ambition. That of Franco-Ivorian model Valerie Ka – who was behind the idea – to create a platform for meetings and exchange to highlight the potential of the continent. 

An initiative to highlight the Africa of the 21st century, its youth and creativity”

«I had the opportunity to travel around the world and I could see that the initiatives promoted by African projects often lacked support,” says the model, who regrets for example that « the African fashion shows organized in France were not up to the standards we could find with the Fashion Week among others.” From this observation was born Share Africa, «an initiative to highlight the Africa of the 21st century, its youth and creativity.”

To achieve this ambitious goal, Share Africa has developed, since early 2020, and despite the difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of activities, starting with The Innovation Evenings. The concept? “A series of webinars organized around major themes (content creation, cinema, tech entrepreneurship …) and bringing together experts, digital professionals, writers and cinema, music and fashion celebrities. There are influencers able « to prepare the public and create a community that regularly follows [Share Africa]” since the innovation evenings started in March this year, well ahead of other initiatives promoted by Share Africa.  

Other key components set up by the platform, the “Hackathon” – a computer competition between developer groups – and the “Dream Machine” – which seeks to provide funding and support for promising projects in Africa – are aimed at the continent’s youth. In fact, these two programs, unveiled at the first Share Africa digital forum last July, have already led to the selection of several innovative and sustainable projects, such as the collaborative and digital encyclopedia Afrorama, winner of the first Hackathon.

«Providing a space for visibility and expression to tackle the major issues facing Africa and the world today »

Organized from July 2 to 6, with the participation of some renowned guests, such as famous South African anti-apartheid activist Jay Naidoo- who worked with Nelson Mandela- the forum revolved around the theme “Positive Africa, Africa of the 21st century”. It aimed at providing “a space for visibility and expression to African entrepreneurs, economists, scientists, designers, activists, thinkers, social entrepreneurs and students who propose definitely innovative approaches to tackle the major issues facing Africa and the world today,” according to the website of the platform. 

In broad terms, this goal has been achieved, « many important issues such as the role of the African youth in organizing solidarity actions or the need to be drivers of change and to develop the media narrative have been discussed, » says the co-founder of Share Africa.

« Youth, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation will be the keys to this 21st century»

Kine Seck Mercier, president of the advisory committee of Share Africa, was equally satisfied with the forum, saying it allowed upholding «youth, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, […] as keys to this Africa of the 21st century”, by giving a voice to “those who are building this optimistic and triumphant Africa”.

This proactive approach to the realities of the continent turned out to be useful: convinced of the merits of this approach, HEC Paris, the best business school in Europe according to the Financial Times, has made Share Africa the partner of its 4th annual Africa Days (held on May 11), a conference organized to discuss issues related to Africa’s development. This is pending a partnership with the brand Balenciaga expected to materialize in September, in fashion this time, with the Africa Fashion Up. A nice way for the model Valerie Ka to come full circle. 

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