Bridging the Gap, Nurturing the Future: Africa Creative Market Inspires Creativity in Africa

Africa creative market

The Africa Creative Market (ACM), a beacon of inspiration and empowerment for African creatives, recently concluded its 2023 edition of creative enlightenment. Held at the 21st Century Technologies Limited in the heart of Lekki Phase I, Lagos, ACM 2023 took place from November 2 to 7, 2023. This second edition of the event solidified its position as a vital platform for nurturing and propelling the future of creativity on the African continent.

The curtain was raised on this journey at a private reception on November 2, 2023, hosted by the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria. The gathering was a convergence of industry luminaries and visionaries, setting the stage for a week of inspiration, knowledge sharing, and networking. With unwavering commitment, Dr. Inya Lawal, the visionary Co-founder of Africa Creative Market, demonstrated her dedication to empowering the creative sector and emerging talents seeking their place in the sector. In an interview at the ACM event, she said, “By bringing together artists, designers, and creative entrepreneurs from across the continent, we create a platform for networking, collaboration, and exposure through ACM. This, in turn, helps in fostering innovation, economic development, and job creation within the creative sector in Africa.”

Africa creative market
L-R Wale Ajisebutu (CEO, 21st Century Technologies Limited), Will Stevens (Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission in Nigeria), Inya Lawal (Founder, Africa Creative Market), Ramin Toloui (Asst. Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State), Audu Maikori (Executive Vice Chairman Chocolate City Group)
Africa creative market
L-R Tope Akande (General Manager, Corporate communication LASAA), Yeside Ajidagba (Chief Marketing Officer/Wigwe University) Bada Akintunde Johnson (Co-founder Africa Creative Market/Country Manager Paramount Africa), Yvonne Victor-Olomu (COO, How Foundation/Wigwe University), Amanda Roach (Deputy Public Affairs Officer U.S. Consulate General, Lagos), Inya Lawal (Founder, Africa Creative Market/President, Ascend Studios Foundation), Ibrahim Aliyu (Cultural Affairs Specialist, U.S Consulate General, Lagos)

ACM 2023 was a vibrant tapestry of panel discussions, keynote speeches, seminars, master classes, creative sessions, and more. The event kick-off with a focus on the musical sub-segment, featuring an opening speech by Bada Akintunde-Johnson, Co-founder of ACM and Country Manager at Paramount Africa. He underscored the importance of the music industry in Africa and ACM’s role in shaping the future for creatives across the continent.

Will Stevens, Chargé D’Affaires of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, brought an international perspective to the event, recognizing the global significance of African creativity in music, film, fashion, and the arts. He emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between African creativity and the world stage, demonstrating the U.S.’ commitment to supporting African creatives. During his address, he stated, “Africa has assumed a prominent role in the global entertainment landscape, with Nigeria at its core. The United States wholeheartedly supports creative talent in Africa and is dedicated to offering platforms for their economic growth. That’s why we’ve joined hands with Africa Creative Market.” He brought an international dimension to the occasion by underlining the significance of connecting African creativity with the global arena.

One highlight of ACM 2023 was a keynote session on intellectual property and the protection of creative rights. Ramin Toloui, the Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, highlighted the importance of regulatory frameworks to incentivize innovation and creativity. Herbert Wigwe, Founder of the HOW Foundation and WIGWE University, contributed valuable insights on protecting inventions and creations, emphasizing the role of universities and research institutions in assisting creatives with intellectual property matters.

Intellectual property lawyer Nabila Aguele, a former Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister for Finance, Budget, and National Planning, stressed the importance of intellectual property enforcement for sustainable development in the African creative sector. She urged African countries to prioritize the creation and improvement of a robust intellectual property framework, safeguarding the rights of creators and fostering financial growth within the industry. “We, as African nations, need to make it a top priority to advocate for the development and enhancement of a strong intellectual property framework. This framework should safeguard the rights of creators and drive economic prosperity within our creative industry,” she emphasized.

Furthermore, Yinka Davies curated the Creative Unveil session, a 2-day workshop for aspiring and established music arts, featuring Nollywood veteran Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Mádé Kuti. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett shared her wisdom, emphasizing the importance of humility in the creative process. Her words resonated with attendees, highlighting that humility is a quality that defines greatness. Attendees delved into ways of unlocking their artistic potential, fostering connections with fellow creatives, and immersing them in a wellspring of endless inspiration.

ACM 2023 also unveiled the magic behind the MTV Base “Inside Life” reality TV show, featuring music stars Eltee Skhillz, Big Rexxie, and Liya, hosted by Ilooise Omonhinmin. This insightful panel session offered a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of African creatives and the challenges they overcome to achieve their dreams in the industry.

The final day of ACM 2023 featured legendary dancer Kafayat Shafau (Kaffy), who led a practical workshop on the art of commercial choreography and Afro-dance expression. She emphasized how creatives in the dance space can upscale their talents while embracing the artistry of movement. A panel discussion, featuring Iyabo Ojo, Daniel Grey-Leonge (Drey Beatz), Bunmi Olunloyo, and Wale Rubber, addressed key issues in the creative dance industry, including the impact of social media, managing societal expectations, and creating value as a creative.

Other distinguished speakers and panelists at ACM 2023 included Obi Asika, Yvonne Victor-Olomu, Kola Oshalusi, Emmanuel Tarfa, Chigul, Sam Dede, Malikat Rufai, Ijeoma Onah, Connie Aluoch, Dedren Snead, Busola Komolafe, Davidson Oturu, Similoluwa Oyelude, Professor Bankole Sodipo, Ibukunoluwa M. Adebara, Temilola Muyiwa-Ajayi, Fifehan Osikanlu, Faith History, Gbolade Okeowo, Nicole Asinugo, Agnes Soyode-Johnson, Beverly Naya, Ayomide Dokunmu, Adeniji Adedeji, Susan Younis, and a host of other experts and thought leaders.

Africa Creative Market 2023 was more than an event; it was a mind-shift experience for attendees. It offered a unique opportunity to learn directly from industry professionals and experts, providing a blueprint for establishing sustainable business models and igniting creativity across the continent. ACM 2023 has set a new standard for inspiring, nurturing, and empowering Africa’s creative talents, and the impact will be felt for years to come. The creative flame that was ignited at ACM 2023 will continue to burn bright, lighting the way for the next generation of African creatives.

For more information about Africa Creative Market and future events, please visit