Eddie Hatitye, Director of Music In Africa
The transcendent power of music: A social and economic leveler
“For so long we’ve heard music is only for men, now girls are forming bands and doing jobs on stage. Women can do what men do and sometimes they do it better”, emphasizes Maimouna Dembele, Chairwoman of the Music In Africa foundation. The annual conference for collaborations, exchange and showcases (ACCES) hosted by Music In Africa since 2016 is Africa’s leading music conference. This year it was organized in Tanzania for the first time, from November 24 – 26. All 54 African countries took part to advocate for the African music industry.
This background story was first published as a LinkedIn article by our managing director Dr. Nina Smidt.
Founded by Siemens Stiftung and Goethe-Institut e.V. in 2013, Music In Africa aspires to make the many voices from the African music industry heard and to provide a common platform for talented artists, operators and entrepreneurs. They promote musicians by connecting and facilitating exchanges between artists and music operators from the continent supporting them with distribution, accessibility and visibility to promote their music. Today, the platform lists over 40,000 registered musicians and cultural organizations.
Through the gender lens
The ACCES program included numerous thematically diverse workshops and panels for African artists and musicians. At the heart of the conference is a training program for young women through the Gender@Work inititative. The participating women from Gender@Work also contributed significantly to the success of ACCES, as they were responsible for the entire stage management. Gender@Work supports women working in the music industry with capacity development programs. With strong voices on gender parity like Maimouna Dembele and Eddie Hatitye (Director of Music In Africa), they put their force behind a different topic each year to draw attention to the different challenges women face in the music industry.
“The role of the Music In Africa Foundation is more important now than ever before. Since 2017, we have used ACCES as a crucial vehicle for the development of the music industry on the continent. This is in line with our agenda to contribute towards building an enabling ecosystem for music creators in Africa. This also means addressing the gender disparity in the industry, something we did so well this year with the Gender@Work project. We are proud to work hand in hand with the Siemens Stiftung team which brings in invaluable contributions to our work”, Eddie Hatitye explains.
Gender@Work also contributed significantly to the success of ACCES, as they were responsible for the entire stage management. Gender@Work supports women working in the music industry with capacity development programs. With strong voices on gender parity like Maimouna Dembele and Eddie Hatitye (Director of Music In Africa), they put their force behind a different topic each year to draw attention to the different challenges women face in the music industry.
Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals
First and foremost, it is about SDG 1 “poverty eradication”: Music In Africa connects promising artists with the who’s who of the African music industry and supports music entrepreneurs to develop new business models. There is a special focus on SDG 10 “removing inequalities” not only for women but by giving voices to the most marginalized sections from the African continent.
Shain Shapiro, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of Center for Music Ecosystems puts it perfectly: “Music is much more than entertainment. It is a growth economy, a lifeline, a communicator. A powerful tool which connects us over continents. It’s an art form that can change and inspire the world”.
In “Your Guide to Music and the SDGs”, he systematically breaks down each SDG, explaining how music can support their implementation in today’s context. This is exactly why Music In Africa was originally founded by my colleague, Jens Cording, Eddie Hatitye, Goethe-Institut and others – to make the myriad voices from the African music industry heard, regardless of gender, origin or social demographics.
Music In Africa
The Music In Africa platform unites the creative potential of all 54 African countries, providing detailed information on the music scene across the whole continent, numerous networking and training opportunities, and free music and videos to stream.
Watch the highlights from the conference
The full LinkedIn report from Dr. Nina Smidt:
The Music In Africa Conference For Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:
If you want to learn more about the ACCES conference and Music in Africa, read the report by Bayerischer Rundfunk: