Cultural Lab Africa launched its operations in the UK with The Cultural Economic Summit, held on May 18, 2024, at The Pullman Hotel, which brought together thought leaders, industry experts, and cultural icons for a day of insightful discussions, networking, and strategic collaborations. The summit focused on the intersection of culture and the economy, exploring innovative pathways to sustainable development and cultural preservation.

The summit was a resounding success, marked by brilliant knowledge sharing and impactful dialogues. It featured a diverse lineup of speakers, including the recently reinstated Emir of Kano, HH Khalifa Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 16th Emir of Kano whose welcome remarks set the tone for the event with profound insights into the role of cultural heritage in economic development. Other notable speakers
touching on topics ranging from digital innovation in cultural industries to policy frameworks for cultural preservation included His Excellency, Kashim Shettima (GCON), Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was duly represented by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on PEBEC & Investment, Hon. Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (OON), Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, and Dr. Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting | Founder, Africa Women CEOs Network and 100
Davos Women who delivered a keynote address on the critical need for gender inclusion and the active participation of youth in driving Nigeria’s creative economy to achieve economic growth, social development, and peace.

The summit was wonderfully anchored by Prince Bimbo Olashore, Deputy President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, who guided the summit reception skillfully as our distinguished compere for the evening. Other dignitaries who participated and attended The Cultural Economic Summit included Thelma Ekiyor, Chairperson, Nigeria Office for Philanthropy & Impact Investment, Her Royal Highness, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Jamie Simmonds, CEO/Managing Director at Access Bank UK Ltd, Emeka Emuwa,
Chairman, Africa Finance Corporation, Mrs. Nonny Ugboma, Executive Director, Nondunna Limited, Board Member, Republicom Group, Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE DL, Co-Founder, (FLAIRS )- First Ladies Of African Impact & Resilience Summit, Dr. Tewa Onasanya, Founder/CEO, Exquisite Magazine Services Ltd, Otunba Abimbola Ashiru, Chairman, ODU’A Investment LTD, and many other notable and remarkable personalities.

Key Delegates of the African Women CEOs Network were also in attendance to successfully launch the London arm of their operations.
“We are immensely grateful to all our sponsors, speakers and participants for their invaluable contributions,” said Itohan Barlow, Founder of Culture Lab Africa. “Their insights and discussions have laid the groundwork for actionable strategies that can greatly impact cross cultural dialogue, economic growth and cultural enrichment. ”

Highlights of the summit included panel discussions touching on:

– Cultural Heritage as an Economic Asset: Examining the economic potential of cultural heritage sites and traditions.
– Innovation in Cultural Industries: Exploring how technology and innovation can enhance cultural production and dissemination.
– Policy and Cultural Preservation: Discussing the role of government and policy in protecting and promoting cultural assets.

In addition to the engaging sessions, the summit provided ample opportunities for networking and further discussions on collaborations between attendees dedicated to the advancement of cultural and economic goals.
The evening concluded with a Duke of Shomolu Foundation production of *AWO, The Musical*, which poignantly portrayed the life and legacy of the legendary African statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Segun Awolowo the grandson of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was also in attendance.

The musical not only highlighted Awolowo’s contributions as a politician, lawyer, and philosopher but also showcased the pivotal role of his wife, the illustrious Chief Mrs. HID Awolowo, who stood as a steadfast pillar behind Chief Awolowo’s illustrious life. This performance added a rich cultural dimension to the summit,
celebrating the enduring impact of African heritage and leadership and acting as a perfect example of cultural exports in the diaspora.

The Cultural Economic Summit concluded with a commitment to ongoing dialogue and collaboration and the emergence of multiple strategic partnerships between delegates, emphasizing the importance of integrating cultural considerations into economic planning and development.

About Culture Lab Africa
Culture Lab Africa is dedicated to promoting cultural understanding and economic development through innovative programs and strategic partnerships.

About the Duke of Shomolu Foundation
The Duke of Shomolu Foundation is Nigeria’s fastest growing theatre production company. Its works have been documented by prestigious international organizations such as the BBC and Canal France

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