All The Must-See Moments From Lilian’s Trip to Kigali for Africa Soft Power Summit 2023
It’s Lilian Eze, and I’m about to take you through my fantastic experience at the Africa Soft Power (ASP) Summit 2023.
The Africa Soft Power (ASP) Summit occurred in the beautiful city of Kigali, Rwanda, in east-central Africa. It was a five-day event from the 23rd to the 27th of May, packed with insightful conferences, lovely dinners, exciting conversations and a gala to celebrate African creativity.
The summit was attended by powerful dignitaries across the continent, from Nkiru Balonwu; founder of Africa Soft Power, Ego Boyo; film producer and creative entrepreneur, Folake Akindele-Coker; CEO of Tiffany Amber Nigeria, and many others. Now, let’s get into it!
First, here’s a recap of my trip from Lagos to Kigali:
Now let’s look at the events of each day via photos and videos:
Day 1: Speakers/Partners Mixer
Powered by the UN Office in Rwanda, the mixer had speakers and partners of the summit in conversation with Eric Idiahi, Co-Founder & Partner of Verod Capital – on private capital investment and the growth of innovation on the continent.
Day 2: RAW Women’s Leadership Conference
The ASP Summit kicked off fully by day two with the Raw Momen’s Leadership Conference which led conversations from women’s leadership to achieving gender equity through funding and investment.
Hosted by ASP’s non-profit arm African Women on Board (AWB), RAW Women’s Leadership Conference sought to push the reset button on gender discourse and ask the question: If the Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion (DEI) movement had been invented today, how might we approach it differently?
The speakers included Amb. Amina Mohamed, Fmr. Minister for Sports, Education & Foreign Affairs, Kenya; Adefunke Adeyemi, Secretary General, The African Civil Aviation
Commission (AFCAC); Chike Obianwu, Senior Partner, Templars; Michelle Moore, Author & UK’s 50 Most ‘Influential Women in Sports’; Kaniaru Wacieni, Senior Investment Director, Africa50, Adebola Toyin Oruma, Group Head, Gender Business Group, Bank of Industry; Rosa Nduati Mutero Managing Partner, Anjarwalla & Khanna; Zano Mataruka, Regional Representative, International Finance Corporation; Esther Mwihaki, Founder, Coach & Trainer, Success by Design; Aaron Craig Mitchell, Co-Founder & CEO, PVSC; Amma Mensah, Founder & CEO, Reign Rum; Christopher O.H. Williams, Chairman, Enda Athletic Inc; Rajakumari Jandhyala, CEO/MP, YAATRA Ventures (Moderator); Faith Odhiambo, VP, Law Society of Kenya (LSK); Lorretta Aniogolu, CEO, F.I.T. Group, Fmr. Gubernatorial Candidate; Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association Foundation & Fmr. Mayor of Baltimore; Abosede George-Ogan, Founder, Women in Leadership Advancement Network; Nnenna Onyewuchi, Co-Founder/Chief Growth Officer, Halo Invest; Bruno Akpaka, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Migo; Wilmot Allen, Founder & Chairman, VentureLift Africa; Daniel Manjarrés, Institutional Relations Advisor, PretaHub; Carol Abade, Group CEO, EXP (Moderator); Ozonnia Ojielo, Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Rwanda, HRH Nnaemeka A. Achebe, King of Onitsha; Farai Ncube, Regional Arts Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, British Council; Ego Boyo, Founder, Temple Productions; Balkissa Idé Siddo, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Meta; Anita Erskine, CEO, Anita Erskine Media and Pauline Fischer, Founder & Principal, PMF Media Group, Inc.
Keep scrolling for video highlights and photos from the conference:
Day 2: Women’s Leadership Dinner
Day one ended with the Women’s Leadership dinner, powered by Templars, where we all got to unwind for the day. Check out the highlights and photos below:
Day 3: Creative & Innovative Industries Conference
Day three started with the very insightful Creative and Innovative Industries Conference which focused on travel, tourism, trade in Africa, the role of private capital in propelling innovation, driving transformative impact in Africa’s sports ecosystem and AI as the future of work and art.
the speakers included Adefunke Adeyemi; Michelle Moore, Author & UK’s 50 Most ‘Influential Women in Sports; Victor Williams, CEO, NBA Africa; Khaila L., Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Tessa; Lyzz Ogunwo, VP International Devt. & Global Impact, Nat’l Basketball Players Association; Michaella Rugwizangoga, Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board Tariro Washe, Film Producer & Actress; Tina L. Taylor, Managing Director, UNUM Capital Investment; Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, CEO, National Film Authority of Ghana, Temwa Gondwe, Senior Manager, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank; Folake Akindele, Founder, Tiffany Amber Nigeria; Alice Nkulikiyinka, Director, I&M Bank; Zelda Akindele, Partner, Finance Practice Group, Templars; Victor Williams, CEO, NBA Africa; James Hewes, President & CEO, International Federation of Periodical Publishers (FIPP); Kola Oshalusi, Founder, Business of Photography; Julia Defabo, Curatorial Lead, ‘Road to 100 Million Climate Soldiers’ – ASP Climate Change Photo Essay Prize and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, The Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator, The Museum of Modern Art.
Day 3: Africa Soft Power Gala & Awards
Day three wrapped up with the ASP Gala and Awards which celebrated African creativity and displayed beautiful African designs on the Runway.
The ASP Gala demonstrated the latest African art, fashion, film, entertainment, media, and tech, bringing the presentations and themes of the previous two days to life before our very eyes, and showcasing what true African creativity looks like today, for all the world… and all the continent… to see! Check out the highlights:
Day 4: Visiting Kigali Genocide Memorial
Day four began with a solemn visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial which documents in detail the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, by the Hutus. There’s more on this in the recap video, just at the end of this post. Meanwhile, I’ve got some photos of the exterior… keep scrolling.
The Wall of Names holds the names of victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda… take a look:
Day 4: Creative & Innovative Industries Conference ++
Then, we moved to the second phase of the Creative and Innovative Industries Conference which included a masterclass for photographers and interested creatives on linking creative endeavour with commercial viability – monetising talent, building a client base and community, and leveraging emerging technology. See the photos below!
Day 4: Grace Smarts Blog Cocktails & Conversations
Then came the highlight of day four – Grace Smarts Blog Cocktails and Conversations where we had discussions about harnessing the power of digital media for influence, income and impact, led by Mary Edoro, Chief of Staff/Head of Strategies; Folake Akindele Coker, Founder of Tiffany Amber Nigeria and Christelle Kabagire, Media Personality.
Catch the video highlights and photos below:
Day 5: Visiting Rwandan designers from the ASP Gala
Day five was all about the amazing Rwandan designers we saw on the ASP Gala runway. We visited three of them: Asantii, Kezem and RW&A Clothing. Incase you’re visiting Rwanda and you need a place to shop, or want to know what each brand is about, watch the next three videos:
This wrapped up the ASP Summit 2023 for me and I most definitely had a great time before getting on the next flight back to Lagos, Nigeria.
Recap: All 5 Days in 140 seconds:
The city of Kigali was so serene, I just had to take photos. Here:
I can’t wait to do this again, but until then, this Lilian signing out now!