BellaNaija, Africa’s leading tech-driven media platform, hosted an extraordinary evening of inspiration, connection, and empowerment during the Africa Soft Power Summit in Kigali. The event, BellaNaija’s Cocktails & Conversations II, brought together influential figures, industry leaders, and creative minds to explore the immense potential of digital media in driving Africa’s soft power.
Convened by Mary Edoro, Chief of Staff and Head of Strategy at BellaNaija, the event commenced with a warm welcome to esteemed guests. Attendees were reminded of BellaNaija’s commitment to showcasing the beauty, creativity, and diversity of the African continent, reaching over 20 million readers worldwide.
What we do through our digital platforms is amplify the stories, talents, and accomplishments of our people, showcasing the richness of Africa’s cultural heritage and driving positive transformation. Recently, someone asked me why people share their intimate weddings, proposals etc on our mega platform, @bellanaijaweddings, which boasts nearly 6 million incredible followers. This is for two key reasons: first, to share their moments of joy and happiness with others, and the second, most important reason, to celebrate the distinctiveness of our culture and heritage. Whether it’s the Kanzu worn by Tanzanian grooms, the Asoebi fashion in Nigeria, or the exquisite Umushanana in Rwanda, we embrace the act of sharing, celebrating, and inspiring the world with the beauty of African culture. At BellaNaija, we are dedicated to supporting and empowering creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who are actively shaping Africa’s narrative and leaving a lasting impact on the global stage
Reflecting on the remarkable partnership between BellaNaija and Africa Soft Power, Mary Edoro expressed pride in the collaboration’s second consecutive year. Both organizations share a common vision of harnessing Africa’s cultural and creative industries as catalysts for development, influence, and impact.
With a focus on harnessing the power of digital media for influence, income, and impact, the event featured thought-provoking panel discussions, fireside conversations, and networking opportunities.
Speakers Folake Akindele Coker and Christelle Kabagire discussed shaping positive global perceptions of Africa, the role of technological advancements, such as AI and virtual reality, in enhancing Africa’s soft power, and the need for support from African governments and policymakers to foster the growth of creative enterprises and drive positive change and economic development. Other conversationalists during the event, including Anwuli Mordi Anenih, Founder and Creative Director of Qamin Luxury Goods, shared success stories and insights on leveraging digital media for brand growth and client retention.
The event also showcased a fashion pop-up, featuring leading womenswear brands Turfah and Kigali Kaftans. Designers had the opportunity to discuss their brands, and Tola Adegbite of Turfah launched her diffusion label, adding to the excitement of the evening. Mary Edoro concluded the event with gratitude to attendees and speakers for their invaluable contributions, emphasising the power of data and digital media in driving growth and innovation in Africa’s creative industry.
In attendance were notable personalities such as Africa Soft Power founder Nkiru Balonwu, Wimot Allen, investor and political economist, Carol Abade, Group CEO of EXP, Abosede George-Ogan, Founder of WILAN Global, Ugochukwu–Smooth Nzewi, Nigerian artist and curator, Tina L. Taylor, Co-founder and CEO of Core3 Innovations, Folake Akindele Coker, Founder of Tiffany Amber, Elodie Fromenteau, Founder of Izubaa, and Jack and Rene of Kigali Kaftans, among others.
BellaNaija’s Cocktails & Conversations II showcased the transformative power of digital media and its ability to shape Africa’s narrative, uplift its creative industry, and drive positive change on a global scale. Through collaboration, innovation, and collective action, BellaNaija continues to champion Africa’s soft power, inspiring a brighter future for the continent and its people.
See the photos from the event below: