From the Palaver Tree to streaming: the cultural revolution Made in Africa

Boubacar Diallo

Culture is an economic strike force and much more! A December 2013 report entitled “The contribution of culture to the economy in France” of the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Cultural Affairs, assesses the “cultural GDP” of France at 57.8 € bn is the equivalent of agriculture and food industries and more than the telecommunications sector, the chemical industry or the automotive sector. This demonstrates the vital nature of culture for the economy and for human beings!

In developing countries and in Africa in particular, culture and its transmission are in the midst of transformation. If traditionally stories were transmitted orally under the “Palaver Tree” today stories are disseminated via smartphones, tablets and laptops. If for decades Africa has been penalized by its lack of infrastructure today, thanks to wireless technologies it is entering the 21st century.

By 2020, in other words tomorrow, the rate of smartphone use in Africa will double.

This is due to several factors, including the rise of a middle class, a young population with more than 200 million people aged 15-24. And this trend of rejuvenation will accelerate since in 2050 the continent will house a quarter of the world’s population.

Technologies also enable Africans to tell and share their stories themselves, thereby actively participating in changing the globally perceived image of the continent.

Today with a smartphone and editing software, young people from Accra, Abidjan, Dar-el-Salam or Nairobi put themselves on the stage and show other people other images of their countries, their cultures, their lives and their concerns, beyond the clichés conveyed by NGOs whose economic model depends on the dissemination of miserable images.

Culture is therefore an economic lever, but not only.

If Afrostream is a business and as such must be profitable, like most cultural businesses, we are much more than our turnover. We offer a broadcasting platform to artists, authors and actors that traditional circuits ignore or for whom the classic cinema type infrastructure does not exist.

In addition, Afrostream contributes to the French cultural exception by broadcasting African-American, Afro-Caribbean and African films in French throughout the world. So we participate in showing the other from a different angle. Today, Africa, because it has the possibility of telling itself to others, through media and cultural platforms, attracts new investors. In the United States a television series has even given a name to the phenomenon by which a cultural work transforms the local economy: the “Five-O effect” of the name of the series Hawaii Five-O or in France “Hawaii state police ” Since the CBS television station updated this 1980s television series, the economy of that American state has jumped. At Afrostream since we broadcast the Windeck series, some of our subscribers have expressed their desire to move to Angola!

Culture and its actors show a multiple and varied world. Culture is an essential agent of soft power in a changing and increasingly complex world.

A new generation is emerging in Africa. That of the directors of Nollywood, the second largest film industry in the world, animation studios, Youtubers and platforms for the distribution of exclusive streaming content. With it emerges a middle class whose “way of life” or lifestyle makes advertisers and content creators dream.

Culture in Africa, as in the developed world, is an economic and diplomatic lever operated by the passion, the talent and the vision of a new generation eager to stage itself and access these creations wherever it is found on the continent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/tonje-bakang/de-larbre-a-palabres-au-s_b_10728864.html

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