Africa’s top artists, including Nigeria’s Femi Kuti and D’Banj, South Africa’s Judith Sephuma and Congo DRC’s Fally Ipupa will be traveling with Manchester City soccer star Yaya Toure to Washington D.C. 4-7 August with The ONE Campaign to play an active role in shaping the conversation about the US-Africa relationship at the historic US-Africa Leaders Summit.
The full list of artists are: A.Y. (Tanzania), Buffalo Souljah (Zimbabwe), D’Banj (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Omawumi (Nigeria), Victoria Kimani (Kenya) and Wax Dey (Cameroon).
President Barack Obama will welcome leaders from across the African continent to the nation’s capital for a three-day summit beginning 04 August, marking the largest gathering any U.S. president has ever held with African heads of state and government. The summit aims to strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.
During the US trip, the artists will hold advocacy meetings with high-level US officials, Washington Fellows from the Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), and Members of Congress. They will also perform the on 04 August during an event at the Newseum, including the song ‘Cocoa Na Chocolate’.
These artists represent a portion of a larger group, led by D’banj, who came together earlier this year during the official African Union Year of Agriculture to record the number one hit song, “Cocoa na Chocolate” in support of ONE’s pro-agriculture campaign in Africa, Do Agric, It pays.
Their collaboration and advocacy work tapped into the dynamic African youth culture, prompting more than 2 million African citizens to take action and sign ONE’s Do Agric petition. The US summit takes place only weeks after June’s African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea where leaders heeded the call of the petition signers in the Malabo Declaration, pledging to increase investments in agriculture, double agriculture production, and create millions of agribusiness opportunities for its large youth population in the Malabo Declaration.
Speaking about the artists’ involvement in the historic summit, Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, Africa Director for ONE, said:
“These amazing artists and soccer star Yaya Toure represent a new era of hope, where Africans take responsibility for their own destiny. They joined ONE across the continent to play a major role in ensuring a positive agriculture outcome for agriculture in Malabo and they will be in Washington D.C. with us this week to remind African leaders about the need to implement their commitments. And we at ONE, along with our CSO partners, will continue to work with policy makers to ensure this continent wide promise is implemented country-by-country.
The artists will also be meeting with American policy makers to strengthen our ties and ensure that African citizens are taking an active role in writing the continent’s next chapter. For a summit whose theme is “Investing in the Next Generation,” these ONE ambassadors truly are the next generation of African leaders.”
ONE launched the Do Agric campaign in January in support of the official 2014 African Union Year of Agriculture. Growth in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa today is estimated to be 11 times more powerful at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors such as mining and utilities.
The continent-wide campaign urged African leaders in the months ahaed of the AU meeting in Malabo that the time had come to adopt better agricultural policies that will help tackle youth unemployment, boost the productivity of African small holder farmers, and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty.