First ‘Africa Live’ event builds cultural ties between UAE, Africa


Staff Report

Dubai – The inaugural ‘Africa Live’ event saw a strong turnout as it was held on the sidelines of the Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum on Africa 2017 on November 1 at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah.

The live entertainment event offered attendees a host of artistic and cultural activities highlighting the strong relations and cultural similarities between the UAE and Africa. During the event, a special ceremony was held to honour Kuwaiti national Ali Al Zaidi, the winner of the “Next Generation Photography” contest.

“Africa Live provided a broad platform for us to look into human and cultural exchange between the UAE and Africa,” said H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“It was an opportunity for us to look more closely at the many similarities our two regions share when it comes to lifestyle, society and art. These cultural traits are hallmarks of each region’s identity and heritage, and by familiarising ourselves with them, we are truly paving the way for solid, long-term ties with Africa – both cultural and economic,” he said.

By hosting the unique event, he explained that Dubai Chamber aimed to look beyond the traditional communication channels, and tap into a more human rapport and strengthen cultural relations between the UAE and Africa.

Commenting on the Next Generation Photography Award, Buamim said the contest was a joint effort with the esteemed Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award, which drew in more than 900 submissions from around the world.

“The award established an interactive platform to build bridges of dialogue between different cultures and civilisations, while it also promoted creativity and fine arts. The contest succeeded in supporting the Forum’s mission to promote economic and investment ties between the UAE, Africa and the rest of the world,” Buamim concluded.

A corner of the Africa Live exhibition was reserved for authentic handicrafts made by creative young innovators, such as Affiong Williams, Founder of Reel Fruits, from Nigeria and kathy Johnston, COO of Mirzam Chocolates, from the UAE. The event featured traditional handicrafts that boast old-timey charm with a modern touch, created by Emirati designer Khalid Shafar, along with Burkina Faso’s Hamed Outtara.

In addition, Africa Live featured clothing designs that highlighted the visible impact of using locally sourced material and traditional techniques to create modern fashion with youthful ideas. Tamashee Co-Founders Mohammed Kazim and Muneera Al Tamimi from the UAE took part, along with Rwandan designer Matthew Rugamba, Chief Designer at House of Tayo.

The two-hour event included musical performances entitled “The Language of Music”, which fused music with folklore. A number of talented musicians took part, including Hamdan Al-Abri (UAE), Victor Sitali (Zambia) and Kakembo Shariff (Rwanda).The programme included live food stations serving up traditional Emirati dishes prepared by the highly creative chef Faisal Naser (UAE). Meanwhile, Nigerian chef Gbubemi Fregene revealed the secrets of African folk cuisine.

The Global Business Forum on Africa has become a reliable platform for exploring the continent’s economic outlook – both current and future – as evidenced by the high-profile attendees that have participated in the event since its inception.

The event is part of Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum series, which focuses on Africa, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world. –