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Gen Zs shaping musical preferences and growing artists’ fandom across Sub Saharan Africa

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This past year has seen many artists drop countless brilliant songs which have been streamed numerous times on Spotify, particularly by Gen Zs, who are the most tech savvy generation currently alive. While a lot can be said about this generation, aged between 11 and 26 years, what we can all agree on is their influence on popular culture, music being no exception.

And while listening behaviours differ from one person to another, an exercise in which artists and tracks unite Gen Z across Sub Saharan Africa is perhaps one step closer to understanding what makes the Africasn Gen Zs move and groove, as seen in this year’s Spotify Wrapped.

Which artists came out on top?

Canadian rapper Drake takes up the number one spot in 2023, in part thanks to his collaborative album with 21 Savage on Her Loss which dropped late 2022, as well as the release of his highly anticipated album For All the Dogs in October.

Afrobeats continues to be a very popular genre amongst Gen Z’s as Nigerian Afrobeats artists such as Burna Boy, Asake, Davido, Rema and Omah Lay find themselves on the top ten list thanks to their consistent contributions throughout the year. Burna Boy, Asake and Davido all dropped new albums this year while Rema and Omah Lay released deluxe versions of their previous albums.

However, it was not only Afrobeats musicians who Gen Z gravitated towards this year, Drake’s Canadian counterpart The Weeknd was also streamed numerous times by Gen Z’s this past year which can be credited to the release of the deluxe version of his 2016 album Starboy. American Hip hop artist Travis Scott dropped his highly anticipated album Utopia which fans had been anticipating for 5 years, so naturally he too is in the top ten most streamed artists by Gen Zs in SSA.

Despite not releasing solo projects throughout the year, 21 Savage and Future are also on the list of most streamed artists by Gen Z’s across Sub-Saharan Africa, showing the generation’s affinity for international rap music.

Which were the grooviest songs of the year?

If the top songs streamed by Gen Z tell us anything, it is that they were in the mood to dance the whole year. Nine out of the top 10 songs are African and are either rooted in Afrobeats or Amapiano, with a couple of songs fusing both genres.

Despite being the only Hip hop song in the top 10, Sprinter by British artists Dave and Central Cee is in second place in a dance-genre-dominated list, which is no surprise as the song received global love from Gen Z, who enjoyed the banger made by two of England’s most popular stars.

Nigeria dominates this list too, with Ruger’s Asiwaju coming at the top, and also making an appearance is Asake’s Lonely At The Top, the artist’s testimonial on the life of fame. Off his highly anticipated album Timeless, Davido has two songs that the Gen Z’s cannot get enough of, FEEL and UNAVAILABLE featuring Musa Keys, both in the top ten.

Mnike, the Amapiano song that took social media by storm is the only South African song in the top ten, showing that there is something to be said on the power of virality. Meanwhile, Ayra Starr’s Rush is the only track by a female artist that’s in the top ten.

What does this tell us about Gen Z’s?

Gen Z’s are known for being hip and full of “vibes”, so it is no surprise that most of the artists and songs that they are streaming are mostly rooted in dance genres such as Afrobeats and Amapiano. Mnike, one of the biggest Amapiano songs to come out of South Africa this year, birthed several dance challenges on social media which had a huge role to play in the success of the song.

What makes these songs unite Gen Z’s is their ability to not only bring out the urge to dance, but also their spiritual and love undertones. Songs like Asiwaju and Sprinter are two completely different songs, but their subtle and less subtle braggadocious nature help represent a whole generation which has often been thought of as being too expressive, while Rush by Ayra Starr taps into Gen Z’s desire to grind and pursue success without the negative energy.

Gen Z’s value authenticity and self-expression, and all these ten songs capture these values either through the use of African music to tell authentic stories of love, success, and pain, or through Sprinter’s employment of UK rap which Gen Z’s have grown to love and appreciate over the past few years.

Spotify 2023 Wrapped data show that Afrobeats is not only the biggest genre across Sub-Saharan Africa, it also unites different generations in a region that thrives off authentic, self-expression music that captures their love for dance and a sense of freedom.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Nigeria’s Public Debt Now N121trn – DMO

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Debt Management Office (DMO) says Nigeria’s total public debt has reached N121.67 trillion within three months.

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The Cable reports that this figure represents an increase of N24.33 trillion or 24.99 percent from the N97.34 trillion as of December 2023.

Nigeria’s public debt profile consists of the federal and subnational governments’ domestic and external debt stocks — the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

According to the DMO, the increase was primarily due to new domestic borrowing by the federal government to partly fund the deficit in the 2024 budget as well as disbursements by multilateral and bilateral lenders.

“Total domestic debt was N65.65 trillion (USD46.29 billion) while total external debt was N56.02 trillion (USD42.12 billion). Excluding naira exchange rate movements in Q1 2024, only the domestic debt component of total public debt grew from N59.12 trillion on December 31, 2023, to N65.65 trillion on March 31, 2024.

“The increase was from new borrowing to part-finance the 2024 Budget deficit and securitization of a portion of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Whilst borrowing, as provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act, will continue, we expect improvements in the government’s revenue to enhance debt sustainability.”

On June 13, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, announced the approval of two major “financial support packages” by the World Bank — valued at $2.25 billion. In May, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said the federal government has secured a $500m World Bank loan to boost electricity distribution in the country.

Prior to this, the federal government had received $750 million from the World Bank for humanitarian and social reforms and $1.5 billion for its economic stabilisation plan.


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Icasa Orders Shutdown of StarSat, StarTimes SA Arm over License Controversy

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Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has declined to renew the license of On Digital Media, the operator behind StarSat, the South African branch of StarTimes Media.

Icasa Orders Shutdown of StarSat, StarTimes SA Arm over License Controversy

The decision, communicated in a letter to On Digital Media, mandates the company to cease operations by September 18, 2024, leaving the reasons for this decision and the steps required to secure a new license unclear.

Despite the shutdown order, Debbie Wu, CEO,  StarSat assured that the company will not be closing its operations anytime soon and is actively liaising with Icasa to find a resolution.

“We can assure you and the public that On Digital Media/StarSat will not be closing its operations anytime soon” Debbie Wu, CEO, On Digital Media.

“There’s been no notice to staff and StarTimes is still selling StarSat decoders to new customers,” an insider told TVwithThinus.

Reports that Icasa hadn’t renewed StarSat’s licence surfaced in early June 2024.

Icasa claimed it had sent a letter in mid-March to Wu and Ronald Reddy, general manager for legal, risk, and compliance, On Digital Media indicating it may issue a statement to inform subscribers, content providers, and financial stakeholders about the shutdown.

“Take note that Icasa may publish a notice on its website and/or in the Government Gazette advising affected subscribers, content providers and stakeholders about the winding up of ODM’s broadcasting services“, the regulator said.

Icasa clarified that it does not have the mandate to consider transfer or renewal applications for expired licenses and instructed On Digital Media to share its plan for notifying subscribers, content providers and stakeholders about the service cessation.

Wu stated that the company is exploring all regulatory and legal issues surrounding its licensing and reiterated that StarSat will continue its operations for the foreseeable future.

“Should such an event materialise, which we doubt will happen, we will respect our obligation in terms of the law to notify all interested parties,” Debbie Wu said, according to TVwithThinus.

 


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Climate Action Africa Reinforces Africa’s Urgency for Climate Change @CAAF24 Event in Lagos

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Climate Action Africa Forum 24 (CAAF24) held in Lagos, Nigeria marked a pivotal moment in the global effort to address climate change, organized by Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading environmental advocate in Africa. CAAF24 aims to galvanize action and underscore the urgent need for climate action across industries and communities across Africa.

The event, held at the prestigious Landmark Center, brought together a diverse array of stakeholders including government officials, business leaders, academics, civil society representatives and the media.

The theme of this year’s forum, “Green Economies, Brighter Futures,” highlights the imperative for immediate and collective action in mitigating the effects of climate change in Africa and achieving global sustainability goals.

“CAAF24 serves as a critical platform for dialogue and collaboration,” said Grace Oluchi Mbah, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CAA.

“With the event, we aim to increase education and awareness on climate change, showcase innovations and projects driving Africa to a sustainable future, and more actively contribute to the expansion of Africa’s green economy.”

The program featured addresses from Her Excellency, Madame Ramatoulaye Diallo Ndiaye, Former Minister of Culture Mali and Founder and CEO of the Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation who was the special keynote speaker.

There were breakout sessions for panel discussions and workshops that focused on key issues such as the potential of forests and carbon credits, climate financing, Nigeria’s carbon market activation, mobilizing private capital for climate-positive investments in Africa, building resilient and livable African Cities and more. Sessions were designed to encourage interactive participation and exchange of ideas among participants from diverse backgrounds and sectors.

In addition to formal sessions, CAAF24 included networking opportunities and showcased the selection of outstanding innovations from over 800 registerations through the Deal Room, a platform that connected high-impact climate innovators in Africa with potential investors seeking to accelerate sustainable solutions.

Other highlights at CAAF24 were the audacious launch of the Billion Trees for Africa Initiative as part of CAA’s community programs and the unveiling of the Pan-African Green Economy Program (PAGE), a partnership with IDEA AFRICA and the Founder Institute that seeks to grow a new generation of 5,000 green innovators across Africa by 2035.

The selection of Omoniyi Praise (1st position), Treasure Nwosu (2nd position) and Alabi Abimbola (3rd position) as winners for the Climate Champion Quest organised by STEAM Funfest also stood out at CAAF24.

As Africa faces increasingly severe climate impacts, CAAF24 is a platform that is committed to unifying the participation of diverse stakeholders in advancing and achieving climate action in Africa. By reinforcing the urgency of climate change through meaningful dialogue and collaboration, CAAF24 inspires concrete steps towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all.


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