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African Creatives Don’t just make Cool Content, they’re Part of the Global Creative Economy

Updated: Jan 17

Unpacking Africa’s limited involvement in the multi-billion dollar Global Creative Economy, a panel of thought leaders at the recent inaugural Advertising Week Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa highlighted the need for Africans to claim their share of the spoils from this economic boom.

Against the background of some sobering statistics from Unesco showing that African creatives make up only 1,1% of regional GDP, lagging severely behind the rest of the world when viewed in monetary and jobs terms, the panelists explored ways to change the current narrative.

The Global Creative Economy generates revenues on $2,25-trillion annually, sustaining close to 30-million jobs worldwide. When measured together with the Middle East in Unesco’s report, the region only generates $58-billion in revenue, sustaining 2,4-million jobs, making it clear that Africa is sitting on huge creative capital, but is struggling to unlock is monetary benefits.

The Build the Future event within Advertising Week Africa was convened by , a technopreneurial, next-gen mobile media network for creative Multicultural Millennials that helps diverse creators build their audience, create value for their work and monetize it via crypto. At this session a number of African Creative thought leaders explored the intersection of the rise of the creative economy, emerging fintech stakeholders and how these technologies impact creators' lives and their creative freedom.

“The Creative Economy touches every part of the value chain: from economics, technology, society and culture to politics and environment. Creatives don’t just make fun stuff, we’re part of the entire economy,” said Karl Carter, Founder & CEO of Snake Nation and convenor of the Snake Nation track ‘The Global Economy + African Diaspora Youth: Building the Future we Want to Live In’.

Among the thought leaders invited to explore the subject were Senisha Moonsammy, Head of Department TIA (Technology Innovation Agency) who also heads up the United Nations Industrial Development Program that focuses on The Green Economy. “How do we move from aid to trade and commercialise the creative economy?” she asked, urging the continent’s creatives to begin unlocking the commercial aspects around their content. “For me, it’s about products and services, and we need to ask ourselves how we can commercialize those.”

“For many years resources have been sucked out of Africa to make the rest of the world better, and we have not really benefited from that. The perception of Africa today is completely different, it is our music, film, tv and art that is changing perceptions of Africa…” said Colin Gayle, Founder of Africa Creative Agency (ACA). “…and if you change that perception, investment and jobs will come. It is important that we do not allow this to become another extraction of resources, but rather that we bring the world to Africa on our terms.”

Stephen A. Newton, Founder Illuminate Africa Group urged the continent to begin looking beyond the traditional paradigm of employment. “Not everyone can be a doctor… and that’s okay! There is a lot of opportunity in creativity and African talent is a resource, why are we not monetizing our vast resource?

Tumelo Moema, Founder Hayani Creative Management was equally excited by the size and scope of the African opportunity.

In exploring the opportunities around AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area), the free trade area encompassing most of Africa that is the largest in terms of member-states behind the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and spans 1.3-billion people across the world’s second largest continent, Karl Carter and the panelists explored the numerous opportunities inherent in opening up the continent to creatives where another billion new consumers are in our located right in their own backyards on the continent.


For more about Advertising Week:

ABOUT SNAKE NATION: is a mission-driven culture content and technology company based in Atlanta GA and Cape Town South Africa, focused on creating access to the creative economy for young diverse creators, as a means of combating youth unemployment and poverty. ENDS


Media Enquiries and Media Interviews during Ad Week:

Nomsa Mdhluli at Tishala Communications - 071 628 6231 or

Roy Bannister at Tishala Communications - 082 468 8622 or

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