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Ikea Enlists Distinguished Group of African Creatives To Design Its New Collection

The Swedish retail store has commissioned a renowned group of African creatives to design its 2019 flagship collection.

The next time you psych yourself up to take the day-long trip to Ikea, you may be delighted to find furniture and home goods created by African designers lining its never-ending shelves.


The Swedish retail giant, which owns 392 stores across 48 countries, has enlisted a noteworthy group of creatives from the African continent to produce its 2019 flagship collection.

The collaboration came about after, Marcus Engman, Ikea's Head of Design, and Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Inbada—an annual conference for African designers— met to discuss and map-out a plan to spotlight the work of African architects, illustrators and designers, through Ikea's global platform, CNN International reports.

"The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world," said Engman.

While it might seem like Ikea is simply hopping on the "Africa is now" bandwagon, many in the creative community recognize the benefits of the partnership for the African artists involved.

For locally based designers, the project is a way to garner international recognition, and promote an "African aesthetic" on global markets.

"Japanese minimalism once inspired a lot of design projects and the philosophy permeated the design community. Certain approaches in many urban African environments could benefit or contaminate the international world of design," said Ivorian architect, Issa Diabate.

Preliminary designs will be on display at the 22nd  Design Indaba conference in Cape Town, and will feature the work of renowned Rwandan architect, Christian Benimana and Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, to name a few.

The full collection hits stores in 2019.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Global Citizen x OkayAfrica: The Impact of Conflict on Children

An estimated 1.4 million children have been hit by schools closing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia amid conflict and crisis. Here's how that's impacting Ethiopia's children.

In times of conflict and war, school-aged children could have their futures defined by whether or not they can access education amid ongoing violence.

Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray is in the midst of a war that has impacted millions of lives and affected neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar. The war — which has forced citizens to flee, has tipped the region into famine, and has barricaded humanitarian aid from reaching the most vulnerable — has now been going on for about 11 months.

As the beginning of the school season draws nearer, safely reopening schools, making education accessible, and protecting children from the impacts of violence in the affected regions is a priority for aid agencies.

"As schools prepare to reopen in early October in most parts of the country, in Tigray and the bordering regions of Afar and Amhara, where the conflict has expanded, education remains at a standstill," Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, told Global Citizen.

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