ACCRA, GHANA – The African Chamber of Content Producers successfully concluded the Africa Image Conference in Accra, Ghana, bringing together individuals from various African countries, high-ranking representatives from African High Commissions in Ghana, ministries, journalists, filmmakers, government institutions, professors, Pan-African activists, diasporans, and African Union organizations. Under the theme “Rebranding Africa-Changing the Narratives,” the conference aimed to discuss the current image of Africa, challenge stereotypes, and foster positive narratives for the continent’s development. The three days conference which took place between the 25th and 27th of May 2023 in Accra-Ghana, had a lineup of activities for different delegates.
The conference featured several engaging panel discussions and speeches by prominent figures in Africa’s media and academic sectors. The first panel discussion, chaired by Dr Kemi Wale Olaitan, Dean of Liberal Studies at the African University College of Communication along with, Mr Danny P Acheampong, Deputy Director of the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tsitsi-tse Nii Okang Nmashie, Teshie Mankrado, and Mr John Kofi Takpo, Senior Research Officer at the Organization of Africa Trade Union Unity (OATUU), focused on driving positive narratives on Africa by Africans. The panellists highlighted Africa’s current situation, emphasizing its growing development and inter-African trade while dispelling stereotypes and discussing the significance of culture and commerce in reshaping Africa’s image.
In delivering the open remarks, Ambassador Godspower Ipalibo Madodoye, an Africa Image Ambassador from Nigeria, revealed the Chamber’s preparedness in changing the current sordid image of Africa and position it on a path of development.
“For far too long, Africa has been burdened by misconceptions, misrepresentations, and negative stereotypes that have hindered our progress. The time has come for us to reclaim our narrative and present the true essence of Africa to the world. The Africa Image Project is our clarion call to action—a resounding declaration that we will no longer allow our story to be written by others. Instead, we will become the authors, the directors, and the producers of our own narrative.
Central to this initiative is the creation and promotion of positive contents that showcases the richness, diversity, and vibrancy of Africa. We possess an abundance of untold stories, untapped talent, and unexplored potential. It is our duty, as content producers, as storytellers, and as Africans, to unveil these treasures and share them with the world. Through film, music, literature, art, and every form of creative expression, we will shape a new narrative that celebrates our achievements, our aspirations, and our collective spirit” part of his statement read.
The panel discussion, moderated by Ms Senam Aseye, witnessed the delegates’ thought-provoking questions and insightful contributions, showcasing the attendees’ dedication to changing negative perceptions and propelling Africa’s progress. Notable Ghanaian journalist Kafui Dey was represented by his assistant and producer, Mr Paul Nyamador, who delivered a speech titled “From the Hopeless Continent to Africa Rising to Africa; the Next Frontier: The Past, The Present, and The Future.” Additionally, Mr John Kofi Takpo delivered a speech on behalf of the Organization of Africa Trade Union Unity, further exploring Africa’s economic transformation.
Highlighting the conference’s focus on empowering the youth, the African Monologue Challenge finalists, representing nine African countries, led a panel discussion on “Rebranding Africa’s Global Image; Role of the Youth.” Each finalist shared their plans as young image ambassadors to transform Africa’s image within their respective countries. The conference also featured a Plenary Discussion titled “African Solutions for Africa / Understanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from the African Perspective / Role of the Diaspora in Rebranding Africa,” engaging all delegates in exploring these crucial topics.
On the first day, the conference attendees were treated to a lecture on Pan-Africanism Communication by Professor Michael Williams, a renowned Diasporan Pan-African professor from the African University College of Communication. The African Chamber of Content Producers utilized the occasion to introduce their 2023-24 projects aimed at rebranding Africa’s image for development. Projects such as High Schools Africa, Humserve Africa, Adventure Africa, This is Made in Africa, Organic Chain Africa, and the Star of Africa Awards were presented by Gimens Goshers, CEO of High Schools Africa and Mr George Egeh, Vice President of the African Chamber of Content Producers.
In an interview with Mr Danny P Acheampong, Deputy Director of the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he emphasized the importance of such conferences and encouraged the organizers to continue their efforts in rebranding Africa’s image for development. He particularly addressed the narrative surrounding agriculture, highlighting the need for value addition in African farming practices, similar to what developed countries have achieved. He urged African farmers and investors to seize the opportunity to change this narrative.
Professor Michael Williams in an interview, discussed the Pan-African struggles of renowned Pan-African figures and emphasized the importance of inspiring today’s youth to continue their work. He expressed his excitement for the conference and expressed optimism that the initiatives of the African Chamber of Content Producers would foster the growth of more Pan-African leaders.
Ambassador Dwomoh-Doyen Benjamin, Executive Director of the African Chamber of Content Producers, revealed in an interview that the organization currently has approximately two thousand members from forty African countries. These members are committed to working collectively to rebrand Africa’s image and challenge negative narratives.
The conference’s second day included visits to various tourism sites in Ghana, providing delegates with insights into Adventure Africa and its potential to promote the continent’s tourism sector. The third and final day featured the Africa Monologue Challenge, organized by MK Casting in collaboration with the African Chamber of Content Producers and the National Film Authority of Ghana at the National Theatre of Ghana. The delegates enjoyed a captivating Pan-African performance of Dr Ben Abdalla’s play, “The Slaves,” and witnessed the eleven finalists of the Africa Monologue Challenge deliver impactful monologues promoting a borderless Africa and showcasing the beauty of their respective countries.
Participants expressed their enthusiasm for the Africa Image Conference, highlighting how it transformed their perceptions about Africa and life itself. Ms Rahinatu Asmaila, a delegate from Salaga, Ghana, spoke of her excitement after the three-day event, emphasizing how the conference reshaped her views on Africa and its potential. A Chadian delegate representing the Government of Chad for the three days conference Mr. Moudeina Voussou , was full of praise for the organizers. He revealed how the discussions and activities of the conference have opened his mind about the possibilities in Africa. He noted that even though he could not understand English, the organizers provided a personal translator for him so he didn’t miss any activity during the three days conference. Mr Moudeina Voussou added that he is going back to Chad as a better African and will use what he has learnt to influence favourable policies in Chad through the transitional Prime Minister of Chad and other Image Ambassadors in Chad. The Africa Image Conference is set to become an annual event, rotating between different African countries and diaspora locations. With its commitment to promoting positive narratives and fostering unity, the conference serves as a catalyst for rebranding Africa’s image and driving its sustainable development.