Salif Traoré A'salfoBy Taiwo Okanlawon

Salif Traore, popularly known as A’Salfo, the leader of star Ivory Coast music combo Magic System, has been made Côte d’Ivoire country director of the International Committee of All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA).

The appointment of the 42-year lead singer was announced in a press statement issued on Thursday.

According to AFRIMA, his appointment was confirmed on Monday, May 17 in Johannesburg, South Africa following a unanimous decision of the International Committee of AFRIMA.

The organisation’s director of sponsorship and communication said of the appointment: “the core of AFRIMA’s mandate is to unify the African continent through music and the role of the country director in achieving these objectives is key.

“Thus, the appointment of Mr. Traore is a significant, strategic step in the right direction specifically for the African creative industry and largely, the continent, as he possesses the skills and fortitude to contribute towards realizing the vision of AFRIMA.”

As country director, he is expected to play a key role in the International Committee of AFRIMA’s comprehensive and stakeholders-based approach through a high level of strategic leadership and partnership.

“He carries out direction, leads, builds and maintains partnerships and relationships among the stakeholders, governments and policymakers, music and creative industry, the media and fans of African music.

“He is ultimately accountable in his country office for all aspects of AFRIMA’s strategic partnerships, leading the consolidation and development of AFRIMA’s programme,” the statement stated.

A’salfo boasts of over 20 years’ experience as a musician, songwriter, producer and record label owner.

Magic System pioneered a new sound in the Ivorian music scene in 1999 when it recorded ‘1er Gaou’ which became a smash indie hit in Africa and France three years later.

The song meant a breakthrough of the little-known group, setting the pace for a new generation of musicians in Côte d’Ivoire and Africa.

A’salfo was appointed a UNESCO goodwill ambassador in 2012 for his messages of peace.

A’Salfo made numerous calls for reconciliation in the wake of the Ivory Coast’s post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, when outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo refused to admit defeat at the polls and was ousted by supporters of current President Alassane Ouattara, at the cost of about 3,000 lives.

With Magic System, A’Salfo in July 2011 launched a campaign to bring home artists who had gone into exile under the rule of Gbagbo, who is now being held by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, accused of crimes against humanity.