Music

Global Citizen and Kendrick Lamar’s pgLang Team Up to Establish First Major Touring Circuit Across African Continent

The kickoff event, “Move Afrika: Rwanda,” will take place on December 6th, with the hip-hop superstar as the headliner. The concert is seen by Global Citizen as the beachhead in attempts to establish an infrastructure that would allow Africa to begin catching up with other continents where major tours are commonplace. pgLang has committed to curating annual “Move Afrika” shows for the next five years, with an expansion to producing shows in Rwanda’s neighboring countries expected by 2025.

Global Citizen co-founder and CEO Hugh Evans explains that the organization has been operating on the continent since its very inception, and they have been honored to be there to celebrate Mandela’s 100th anniversary in 2018, alongside Beyonce and Jay Z. They were thrilled to be in Nigeria at the New Afrika Shrine during the pandemic, alongside Fela Kuti and an incredible lineup. Last year, in Accra, Ghana, for the Global Citizen Festival alongside Usher, SZA, Tems, and Stormzy.

The organization’s ultimate goals for Move Afrika have to do with creating sustainable positions for a concert business, not just providing live entertainment in a region that is starved for it. Two aspects of this are critical for the success of Move Afrika: bringing focus on job creation, which helps end extreme poverty through economic empowerment, and supporting micro-entrepreneurs across the continent to be part of that ecosystem. Jobs being created through certainty, through basically market certainty, is how you alleviate poverty.

The second thing that is really important to them is that other artists should be able to take advantage of the infrastructure we build together over the next five years, both as part of the Move Afrika touring circuit and also independently. The success for this will be if it outlasts any initiative we do. In five or 10 years from now, when the world’s greatest artists are all touring across Africa, it will be amazing for African economic development, artistic development, and job creation.

Most of Global Citizen’s star-filled concerts have been available for streaming or broadcast globally. That won’t be the case with Lamar’s concert in Rwanda on Dec. 6, which will also feature artists from the region as well as the American hip-hop poet laureate. Evans says that globally, you won’t be able to stream this, but they will be working on a number of specials coming out of this that will be able to be viewed and streamed globally. But their focus from a broadcast point of view actually is to have the livestream be local.

Evans says the music world is already well aware of the need for an African touring circuit and the growing international interest in the music coming out of the continent. He believes that a successful touring circuit will include local artists as well as visiting big names from the U.S. and other countries. and other countries.

In the last six months, Evans has had amazing meetings with the Ghanaian, Nigerian, Botswana, South African, Egyptian, Kenyan, and Rwandan governments, and sees a huge desire for this to become a reality.

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