Hicham Lahlou

Designing Africa's Future

Why is it important to export Africa to the world?

Hicham Lahlou is a brilliant Moroccan designer and artist who effortlessly combines tradition, modernity, and aesthetics in his mesmerizing works. He is the founder of Africa Design Award, Africa Design Days and Special Envoy & Regional Advisor for Mena Regions & Africa of the

World Design Organization. Hicham’s work transcends boundaries, captivating audiences with his thought-provoking art installations and exhibitions. His vast African heritage serves as his source of inspiration.

He highlights the importance of introducing the world to Africa, our concepts, and our creations. He goes on to emphasize the value of networking to discover people who will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities. He encourages us to bond and help one another as Africans. He invites us to explore the transforming potential of African design and to embrace our individual artistic inclinations. Hicham Lahlou is a remarkable designer whose creations continue to transform how we view African art, culture, and design.

Tune in to find out how we can grow African design beyond our borders!

This is the eighth episode under the ‘Shifting Narratives’ program supported by the British Council SSA Arts.

*For the best experience, please use a headset/earphones.

IG & Twitter: @hichamlahloudesigner

Website: https://www.hichamlahlou.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hicham-lahlou

African Generation: The Power of Design: African Generation - version anglaise: The power of Design

Episode Transcript

[00:00:35] Adrian Jankowiak: So, Hicham. Thank you so much for joining me. It's a real pleasure to get to speak and to hear your stories.

[00:00:43] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah. So thank you so much Adrian for the invitation. I'm very glad and happy to be with you at Nairobi Design Week near Nairobi Design Festival. I hope we will join you one time in Kenya and spend time together and also to see you with David and Mugendi. And Mugendi, it's particular and, uh, brotherhood African story because I came in World Design Organization since 2015 because I had been appointed by him when he were president of the World Design organization from 2015, 2017 as the first African president of the organization that this year is celebrating 66 years and we were together at Hyderabad in India in October, 2019.

[00:01:36] And at this time I was at the end of my term as a board member of the second African elected of the World Design Organization. And also we were talking in a

funny way and he was saying, yeah, listen, I have a nickname for you, brother. I say, oh really? He say, yeah, yeah. And I said, what is my nickname? He said, you know, in Africa we are all committed, if I can say or related to some beautiful stories. And I will tell you that you are related to a beautiful animal. I said, oh, really? And he said, yeah, yeah, for me you are Leopard. I say, I'm a Leopard. Why? He said, you know, when I'm looking at you, you are like the Leopard. You're on the tree in the savanna looking very far away at the horizon.

[00:02:23] In the same time on the ground, buffalos, lions and several animals are

drinking, fighting, eating, whatever. And when everybody is very busy on the ground, you came from the tree on the ground, and you start to run very far and very, very speed. He said, why? Really? He said, yeah, because the Leopard, takes his time looking at the horizon preparing the future and when he decide to start, nobody can run after him because he's very, very, very rapid . So I said, oh yeah, thank you. I say, you are the Leopard, always anticipating the future and trying to to build something new.

[00:03:07] I don't say that you can be all the time successful, but this is how well I'm

looking at your brother. This beautiful story behind the two African brothers and we can be all Africans or all brothers in Africa, even if people like you are coming from Europe, you love Africa, you call me involved in Africa and you are sharing, your love to this continent to Kenya. And also how you can connect Kenya, Africa, to the world and to other countries in the continent. This is the spirit of Africa. Yeah.

[00:03:42] Adrian Jankowiak: Amazing story from yourself and about Professor Mugendi, who's of course a guest we've had on the show as well. It's curious that he compared you to a cat. And just before we started recording, you showed me your pet cat, you called it a Jaguar, right?

[00:03:57] There's something to the fact that we resemble our pets.

[00:04:00] Hicham Lahlou: Exactly. We are cat lovers. I think we say in English film, the Family of Cats and Lions and Leopard. This is the same, same family. Yeah, indeed. I have this beautiful black cat.

[00:04:12] His name Bagheera, is related also to a story because when we were kids, we were very touched about this beautiful jungle book story. And I, I was looking to adopt a cat and I want a black cat because it's Bagheera, the Black Planter

[00:04:32] Adrian Jankowiak: Very nice. So, I first became familiar with your work when I was at university. I'm not sure whether it was through a lecture or when I was searching for African designers, because I always like to explore the world, even through the internet. I'm sure your career has evolved somewhat and I was familiar with most of your products and tangible objects that you were creating at the time.

[00:04:56] First of all, again, really amazing to be speaking to you, but I'd love to know

more about that part of your career where, how did you get into design and yeah, let's start there and then we'll, we'll discuss maybe how African design has evolved as well over time.

[00:05:11] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah. Thank you so much again, Adrian. I'm very touched to hear you that you were, when you were at the university learning about about me. So it's something very saying that in the humble way when I'm hearing that, it's for me always touching and you say, oh, really? It's happening, because you don't know sometime what's really happened behind what you have done or what you are expecting to do.

[00:05:35] This year, it's 28 years, but I start seeing when I had my graduation from

Academie Charpentier in Paris as interior architect and designer but It was a long way, and I think it's not finished because it's hard work and I become if I can say international designer recognized since maybe 25 years or, or less, little bit less or 22, 23 years.

[00:06:02] It's always an interesting on your roots or on your way of life as human being or as a designer, global designer, industrial designer, whatever, architect as

well. Always be able to dream and to find somebody on your way can be able to listen to you and also to believe in you and to trust in you and to give you the chance to continue because it's always about this story. We are creative people, but creative people related to something very pragmatic. Design it's something very pragmatic related to science, innovation, technology, handicraft industry. And it is becoming more and more global field.

[00:06:49] WDO, World Design Organization in 2017 at the 60 years anniversary when I

became elected, it was in Torino in Italy at United Nation site there. We became Icsid International Council of Societies of Industrial Design towards designation, because design is becoming more global. There is a lot of design field in the global field of design and related to if I can say the main field of design was, and it was still industrial design, but it is related to different fields of design.

[00:07:24] And this is why it's interesting because I as a designer and also manager of

company, I understood very early that if you want to be stronger, you should work and fight to make your design agency global. And if you are able to do it because some designers don't have the capacity, I think to have all the expertise to develop this or maybe through one or two or three or four expertise to say why I don't start to be a global design agency and I can involve people to work with me and to be a global team be able to work and to give the solution to clients, to partner and whatever. And why I start to think and to say why I don't involve myself, because it's also, again, a story like you and me and other people.

[00:08:15] We can ask, I am able or not to share with others with humility and engagement to involve others, to promote others, and not only myself. I think this is a character as human and then I start to do it as Africa Design award, Africa design days week. And I organize conference. I organize exhibition.

[00:08:36] I have been invited in Europe in other places and I'm still invited to promote

African design because I'm very happy to talk about what happened in our continent. It's very big continent. It's five regions, and we have also the sixth region. It's the Diaspora because most of the people you can born in Brazil, in Venezuela, in Canada, in United States.

[00:09:01] In Europe, whatever, three centuries ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago. And if

you are African decent, you are related to Africa and and we are African from Africa, but you can be African decent from whatever you, you are coming. So this is something very interesting and there is some people like you that are in love with Africa and you and you are engaged and you start to do this beautiful event in Kenya.

[00:09:27] So all the people are touched by the African roots because Mama Africa, mother of humanity, it's Africa. So it's not something surprising that somebody like you came from Europe and start to promote and to create an event in Kenya, for Kenya and for Africans. So this is something very, very interesting. And I start also to learn for Professor Mugendi, the difference between Africa with C and Africa with K.

[00:09:57] And always when I'm traveling I'm asking myself, why in our continent we have huge, huge companies, huge private groups, huge foundation. Why people are not starting to collect our pieces. And to create a founding of our creations, of our project. The only possibility that we can have is to, to connect to our network in Europe and to find a perspective and possibilities to see how my creations can be involved in collections, permanent collections in exhibitions. When you see in Africa what's happening, there is a very, very few exhibition about African design. The last one, the most important one that I participate in it. And also I have been invited in the adversary council. It's making Africa a contemporary content of design made by Vitra Design Museum from 2015 to 2019. 

[00:10:58] Four years exhibition in different places in Europe. Vitra Design Museum,

Guggenheim Bilbao, C C C B Museum in Barcelona, Kunsthal Museum in Netherlands, Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico, in the United States. High Museum of Atlanta and later on it was the museum in Austin.

[00:11:20] So I think when you see what the museums are doing this is where the design was born in the industrial design, it doesn't mean that design was not existing

before it was existing in Africa. We have a lot of stories, civilization, cultures... that we create design if I can say, as a beginning going to industrial design because when you see the industrial revolution in Crystal Palace in London in 1851, 1852, it's becoming from hand and craft movement to industrial design movement.

[00:11:57] So it's always related when you talk about craft or industrial craft, there is

a connection to industrial design. The industrial design didn't came from nothing. It's related to something. And this is something that I'm always asking myself why in Africa we don't have in our countries beautiful design museum related to our civilization, histories, until now. What some designers are doing in Africa. There is several designers in Kenya, in Senegal, in Mali, in Morocco, in Tunisia, in South Africa, in Ghana, in Nigeria. Different, all the region in Africa, but in different levels. And what those designer or these designers are doing actually when what is the contribution to Africa related to

the contribution to the world.

[00:12:51] And this is something that I think we can promote together to move, to shake

the trees or the baobabs or whatever, and to ask those very important personalities that we have in in Africa, very important businessmen. And also head of states or very famous foundation to say, listen, why we don't organize a roundtable to ask you why you don't bring, or you start maybe already to bring or to create something to show to the world what the designers and what the global field of design are doing in Africa connected to the continent and globally to the world. 

[00:13:32] Adrian Jankowiak: So we'll keep jumping back into African design. Was there a project for you personally, as you mentioned, you've been known for a couple of decades at least. 

[00:13:44] So was there a project or maybe a person or a relationship that really you

consider to be like a breakthrough for you? Or was it just gradually over time? If there's a specific period of time that you've put on it.

[00:13:59] Hicham Lahlou: It's related about something similar to you and your team. If I understood your question, it's related to my background and also what I'm doing related to my background for Africa. Right?

[00:14:11] Adrian Jankowiak: Yes, of course. I was just wondering if for you as a designer, you say you've been known for some time. Where is that point where you consider that you became more familiar to people, where people became familiar with your work, more broadly. Was there a particular project in time that you did for somebody that gave you more exposure or was it a particular relationship with someone or, or was it just over time?

[00:14:39] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah. Thank you for the question. Yeah, it's true. Like I said in the beginning, when I start to talk, it's about on your way, on your roots when you meet people. I met people when I was younger that they give me the opportunity to exhibit, to give my voice, to talk, to share and some pieces of my work became famous because this is our work who take us to something, you know, to move on and to follow up, you know?

[00:15:04] And also when I start also to design for some international brand in Europe.

And then when the pieces again on where your creation or some other project because I designed from the watch to bathroom, to furniture, to hokka, to highway canopy, to hotel. So there is different project that I designed, bottle of water.

[00:15:25] There is a lot. So branding, packaging, global design, graphic global design

brands, so industrial design, urban projects. So I designed several, several things. So this is something that maybe why I became what I am, because my, my particular background and how I can work and give solution to the clients or to state, uh, organization, institutions and also how I became recognized at my humble level when I start to promote African design with my engagement. So without the collaboration with the sisters and brother from Africa, it's impossible to do it. If they say, no, I'm not available to participate or to support you or to give you my connection, because altogether we can go far away, but alone, you can go not very far. So it's about, uh, human stories again and how people can believe in you. And for African design I start to work with different designers that we start this story of Africa Design Award, Africa Design Days and this is different designers that they say, oh listen, Hicham, it's a good initiative.

[00:16:38] We will help you because it's nonprofit. You know, you're doing that just to

share, to show that we have a very strong and very interesting designers all over the continent and also outside the continent. And how people like Cheick Diallo or others designers that I work with start to say, yeah, listen, we will come to your event, we accept the invitation and there is another once you know we have Osman Bey, you have Hamed Ouattara, you have a Bibi Seck, you have several designers and also I want to mention youth.

[00:17:09] We connect youth designers, two famous confirmed designers, and give them the opportunity to be under the spotlights. And something happened when I organized the first African economic forum of design, Africa design days forum with the first word design talks in Africa with World design organization, 2017 in Rabat.

[00:17:32] You know I invite because I organized this with the very small team. I fight a

lot to get the funding to be able to organize it because you know that better than me. It's very hard to organize the event because without support and funding how you can invite speaker by planes? How you can give them opportunity to sleep in, in hotels? How you can invite designers? How you can do exhibition, whatever, you know. 

[00:17:57] Depend what is the format of what you wanna do each year or each two years. And, uh, we invite several people from all around the world: India, Republic of Korea, United States, Canada, Europe and things. So, and it was amazing to see how much people was enthusiastic. We invite also people like Marva Griffin from Milano.

[00:18:18] After that I was very surprised and very, very touched to be invited by Marva

Griffin in Milano to be a co-curator in 2018 with Campana Brothers as curator for Africa for my part, and Campana Brothers for Latin America. In this exhibition, Africa, Latin America... emergent design was amazingly successful in Milano, in Salone del Mobile.

[00:18:42] At SaloneSatellite, so you cannot imagine more than 230 press article all

around the world. So it was a very big exposure for the 18 designer that Campana brothers curated from Latin America and 18 designers that are curated from Africa. And I have a very special thought now I'm talking about Campana Brother for Fernando. Rest In Peace Fernando Campana who died in November, 2022.

[00:19:12] A special talk to the Campana brothers, to Umberto his brother that he lost his, uh, his brother. And thanks for Fernando, what he have done globally for design

field of in the world. And it was for me a honor to be co-creating this exhibition with them. So it was just a mention to say, rest in peace, Fernando.

[00:19:32] So this is something that I want to say and also thank you to Professor Mugendi because without him and also I'm talking about Jean Roughan. He's from France and he's also African lover and he was born in, in Niger.

[00:19:48] He's a African from roots because he was born there and it's also the guy who connect me with Mugendi as African brothers and how I've been involved as an

African to this incredible organization that we all need to push to give our voice inside it to become more and more members because we are very, very few.

[00:20:09] And I can mention also that I invite in African design days and we received

some applied for Africa design award from some African designers and part of them are from Kenya, like Jeff Maina. He's a very good industrial designer with this very amazing project called B R C K, the Brick. So this is a very good designer that we invite and he came to Rabat, to Casablanca.

[00:20:37] And also we invite some people that are related between contemporary art and design. And this is something that we really liked. And we invite also Cyrus Kabiru. He's from Kenya. He is a worldwide well-known, contemporary artist related also to design. And he became the icon, face icon of making Africa a contemporary content of design.

[00:21:00] So, this is different stories but there is a lot. There is stories related to very, very well-known brands that I have designed for like LIP watches in France. CITCO in Italy, there is a lot. It's always about meeting people and again, you discover people say, oh, I'm listening to you.

[00:21:21] I'm reading about you. Somebody talk about you. I hear about you in the press, in the media, in university, and it's always, uh, surprising and touching to say that with humility and this is something very interesting. So, I hope I answered your questions. 

[00:21:37] Adrian Jankowiak: Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you. So you mentioned you like to connect designers of course. And so maybe there a call to action that you have immediately for designers who are looking to be connected? Or maybe more specifically, where is the work that you are doing? Where is it going?

[00:21:57] Both locally across Africa and globally across the world? What are the next

things that you plan to be working on?

[00:22:03] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah, indeed. There is some, uh, works part of some collection of some museums, you know, like Victoria and Burt Museum in London and others. But the problem, when the Covid came, everything stopped or start to be very slowly, restart very slowly, and you can see that there is some disconnections. That's why for me to say it very... with simplicity and honesty, to be connected to Nairobi Design Week.

[00:22:31] Thank you again because it's an opportunity to say hello, I'm still here. Thank

you for what you're doing for Kenya and for Africa and, what we can build together for the next, you know what I mean? And this is something interesting for me, and I was talking to somebody last week who contacted me from Dakar.

[00:22:52] And he was saying to me that Dakar Biennale in the eighties or the end of the eighties was the first event in Africa who start to promote design in Africa. And after I start to do this project, digital Project, Africa Design Award days and week and after I saw that Nairobi Design Week start to do that in the same time.

[00:23:15] I heard something about Cairo Design Week. I heard something about... there is a small group of youth that they start to do something in Casablanca Design Week

and also my sister Titi Ogufere in Lagos. So start to do Design Week Lagos, and we can see that also others project like Design Indaba in Cape Town.

[00:23:39] And from 2022 end of March, I have been appointed by the new president, David Kusuma from United States as the first special envoy for Africa and MENA region, north Africa, Middle East, and also advisor. So I'm actually doing a lot of actions like connecting World Design Organization with UNIDO, United Nation for Industrial Design Development.

[00:24:03] And we are on the way to sign a partnership. I have done also a connection with World Design Packaging Organization and World Design Organization and they

signed a partnership last year. No, I think 2021, so two years ago almost. I also connect Saudi Design Festival with them, Ministry of Culture and through the architecture and design recognition; Saudi Arabia, with the World Design Organization.

[00:24:28] So my mission is always to try to involve organization, public institution,

private institution. Organization or agencies like you. I will be happy that you will become member to give the voice of Kenya and also to Africa. And I also invite several schools, professional design to say, Hey, listen, you should become a member because we need you to give your voice and to give the voice to Africa.

[00:24:54] And I think we can organize in, in the future. Why not an exhibition about

African design from Africa to the world? No. It's interesting to have it from accidental world to Africa or to other parts of the world because, for example, making Africa a continent of designs was an amazing exhibition.

[00:25:12] More than 100 artists in the exhibition but why we don't think to organize

together hand in hand, a very interesting exhibition from Africa to Africa and to Africa to the world. Why not? We can work on it together. We can ask Professor Mugendi. We can involve people that they are familiar, we know each other, be able to work together and we can work on this exhibition to see from where we can start this exhibition to where an after from Africa to where. And I think we can from our continent, start to show more what's going on, to organize talks and to ask question and to involve very big companies.

[00:25:53] We can ask some amazing people in Africa to support our initiative and to ask why we don't create a foundation to bring the pieces and to prepare the legacy of tomorrow and for the future because our pieces, most of the pieces are more in part of collection in Europe and other parts of the world, but very few in Africa. And why? Why?

[00:26:15] And this is a big question, so I think we, we should think about that. 

[00:26:21] Yeah. And we should do our legacy, so by ourselves for our continent, but also for the world. And I had co initiate a very beautiful initiative of book about design in Africa. ' African Generation: The Power of Design' in French and also in English. It's existing in the two versions that people can find that on internet. I invite my brother, Professor Mugendi to be co-author because I was thinking that I'm going to say it in funny way. It's stupid that only myself, the author of this book, I cannot be only by myself representing the continent. It's very important to have two people. And at this time I was still member of the board of the World Design Organization as an African, but we work on the project during two years.

[00:27:13] And it's an amazing project. We have 49 designers from 17 countries, different region of the continent. Special thanks to Sir David Adjaye, who accept to be

part of the book. Karen Rashid, Cheick Diallo and different famous designer and also youth, different youth designers, and also some designer that I invite to the exhibition with the company rather, and Marva Griffin in Milano, Jeff Maina and other ones. So interesting legacy because book is something that you can take, you can read, some researcher, some people working on the field of design can learn more about what's going on in Africa. And I, I hear from some African designer coming from other country.

[00:27:59] Thank you to the editor giving us the opportunity to discover ourselves because we don't know what's going on. As an African in the continent, it's surprising to hear that from Africans. So we present the book at the 100% London, the first African Fair of Design and Arts about Africa in Paris and also in the International Fair and Edition of Books in Rabat last year.

[00:28:27] And different places also in Casablanca when we launched the book with the editor in May, 2019, last year after the Covid in Rabat in May, 2022. And why we don't prepare for, maybe we can organize something, under your cap in Nairobi. Why not? We can organize a beautiful talk in university or somewhere with Professor Mugendi and maybe one or two or three or four designer from the book and talk about the issue of design. And also we can ask maybe some important leaders from our continent to support us, you know?

[00:29:03] Adrian Jankowiak: Brilliant. Would love to pick up that conversation and all the other conversations that you've just mentioned potentially. The book sounds really exciting. I'm definitely going to check it out. And the list of co-authors and contributing authors sounds like there's a lot of knowledge there from the global industry that we need to learn from.

[00:29:23] You've mentioned the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is a really interesting place. That is a place that does already showcase successfully African design, but definitely an incredible place to do more with. And you're talking as well

about both connecting more design weeks locally and from from Lagos. I've been in touch with Casablanca. We know Kampala Design Week, Addis, so we have a network and a community now starting to form of design festivals around the continent. Again, probably because I'm sure there was that first generation of Design Indaba and so on, and then now we've got a new generation of festivals adding to that and also exhibits being able to showcase African design, take it to places like Saudi Design Week and really showcase the best of what we have to offer. For sure. So that sounds incredibly exciting. Have you got any other thoughts that you'd like to leave the audience with?

[00:30:22] Any other stories you'd like to share or perhaps a question either to the audience or myself?

[00:30:28] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah, you know, stories, there is a lot. So, a lot, a lot, so a lot of travels, a lot of commitment, a lot of engagement. When you are working for communities and we're not the only ones but you give a lot of your time or your health, your energy because you think with your heart, with your soul, and you're happy about when the things are moving in the right way.

[00:30:50] And you discover more, the recognization of the talents from Africa. And also this MENA region because it's also part of Africa. This is something you can say, you know what I have done? And what we have done altogether is not for free, it may not about money, but it's was for something. And look, the results are here but as a professional of design and also what I'm expecting, I hope that we will have more engagement from our head of states and leaders from private sector to be more involved and interested about design. Because design is something very interesting. It's a transversal global field can help human development, economic and social development.

[00:31:36] And also empowerments of women's, of men's, creation of employment, performance of enterprises in very, very powerful meaning of sense because people think design is only a creative people that they are creating. We are creating in our

corner, in our house or office where we are creating for the future and we are creating something very pragmatic, giving solution. I like this sentence coming from W D O Design for a Better World. And it's true. And we should keep in mind that design can help about and can give solutions for sustainable development goals related to climate change, sustainable problems that design can be a key of giving solutions and designers are more now involved creating solution for the planet and also for the consumer because we should think about the consequence about our creations or what we are creating as a solution for the next future or for much longer for the planet.

[00:32:42] So I have force a big question about electric cars. Okay. We are promoting

electric cars a lot. It's very sustainable. Okay. I can believe in that. Maybe it's a good opportunity to do business because it's a huge amount of business selling cars and what's around. But I'm have a big question as a designer where the battery will go?

[00:33:05] And how we will recycle this huge amount of millions of batteries.

[00:33:10] Adrian Jankowiak: Yep. People don't realize maybe a lot of the time that a car battery is, I think I was doing this calculation in my head the other day. It's like 10,000 smartphone batteries. So one car will take up like 10,000 smartphones. So it's, it's a lot of batteries that we're having to create. And is that, is that a next step for you then, personally, that you'd like to move into that interdisciplinary, putting the design as being a tool for solutions for other areas because that's what we need. We need to deal with climate change. We need to deal with all the problems facing the world and design is just one of the tools that contributes to that. Right?

[00:33:49] Hicham Lahlou: Yeah, indeed. Yeah. I want to involve myself more and more. I'm thinking about the youth that they're starting not having any founding to develop the business or solution, whatever. Start-uping in design is something not very well known.

[00:34:05] We talk a lot about digital start-uping, but imagine a guy like me. I am 50 years old. And then I'm asking myself how I can still continue to develop my company or my expectations, my projects, my engagement, et cetera.

[00:34:24] I'm looking for funding the only purpose for all of us. If we want to continue

and to contribute and to teach and to give the opportunity the youth to come to work with us and after maybe they can start their own business or start-uping in design, we need investors. When you see what's happen in Europe, for example, oxidant, most of the famous fashion designer, others designer, industrial designer, famous architect. Some of them stopped to work because they stopped to have disease in financial problems and they was not be able to do a good managers because designer are not the managers and they can be a good manager if they came from schools or university as a designer managers. But basically we are not the managers in the meaning of sense of managing a company of financial problems and things.

[00:35:17] That's why you see a lot of architects, designers, fashion designers, creative

industries related to cultural industries. Now they are developing very much, very good because some investors came in the capital of the company and give them the opportunity to develop a lot. For me, I'm looking for that.

[00:35:39] And I know that there is several designers, companies that they will love to be supported with, African groups, private groups. And this is something very important that I wanna say, you know, because the key problem of our development and to make design more powerful in our continent it's to have investor behind us, to give us the opportunity to develop the business, to open more doors, to give us more opportunity in the international market, to export us because this is what they're doing in Europe. You see that. Several countries, they are exporting their designing like brands, like a power because these designers are giving the opportunity to export the name or the brand of a country and they know that they are more than ambassadors.

[00:36:31] They are brands. They are power, they are power of knowledge, they are power of a lot of things. So this is what we're not very good here in Africa and we're not doing it very good. And I am taking this chance to say to very big leaders from private sectors. It can be from different fields or some head of states leader from public sector or different leaders.

[00:36:57] Why we don't listen to us? Because we have something to say very interesting and it's gonna be a very interesting opportunity for our continent and country and region in the continent to export ourself and to be more powerful. We are glad and we are very proud to have international designer. We have also strong architect designer that they are also very well known that Sir David Adjaye. 

[00:37:25] So Africa, it's not the future. Africa, it's now, but how we can anticipate the next future to be stronger, to make Africa stronger and people respecting us much better and not think that Africa is only Ebola, immigrants problem. That's it.

[00:37:47] Africa is very, very strong continent and all the countries in the world and regions of the world now are taking the opportunity to come in Africa to grow as a countries with Africa. 

[00:37:59] Some countries in Europe, without Africa they cannot continue to grow. It's not because Africa now is growing because it's from a long time ago. The problem with the media sometimes are saying things and people don't know this continent and think sometimes Africa, it's a country, thinks Africa is all poverty, problematic of immigrants, Ebola and other things, you know, or terrorism. It's completely wrong. 

[00:38:26] Africa, it's a huge continent, huge civilization. More than 2000 languages in

Africa. Astronomies, musics, innovation, cultures. It's huge. it's amazing. So we have this amazing continent and it's time to promote it altogether in the much better way.

[00:38:49] Adrian Jankowiak: Amazing. Yes it is. Yes it is. And I'm so glad we've had this conversation. We'll take it from here as well. 

[00:38:55] So, Hicham. Thank you so much for your time and I'm really looking forward to talking more about what we can do together.

[00:39:04] Hicham Lahlou: With pleasure. Thank you, Adrian. And I'm taking this opportunity to invite you in this initiative of Africa Design Organization that I co-initiate here, not here for here but for Africa. This is a project that we're working on it. You can be much more than welcome with you and Professor Mugendi, part of the Board of Discussion and also board of the founder to make it happen at the first Pan-African

organization of design taking the voice of our continent to World Design Organization and to the world. So, thank you again and keep in touch and congratulations for your effort

[00:39:44] Hicham Lahlou: and your team.

[00:39:44] Adrian Jankowiak: Thank you. Thank you.

Episode Credits

Produced by Nairobi Design

Host: Adrian Jankowiak

Producer: David King'ori

Shorts & Artwork: David King'ori

Music: Ngalah Oreyo (@ngalah_oreyo) and Mercy Barno (@merc.b_)

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