Certified MOA

Why MOA Certified and what we want to achieve

Basis of our theory of change:
The world as we want to leave it

We as equal members of society

At MOA Certified, we envision a world in which Black people and people of African descent are full members of their society, regardless of where they live. For us, this means that because of their projected otherness or origin, they are not subtly or overtly denied access to what they need to build profitable and sustainable entrepreneurial ventures, in the spirit of an inclusive society.

Self-determination and personal empowerment

We at MOA Certified envision a world in which people of African descent, whether in Africa or as migrants or citizens outside Africa, are neither subtly nor obviously hindered in their ability to dispose of their own resources, including cultural resources, and to act on their own authority in the spirit of an inclusive society due to power politics, economic interests or the like.

Equal opportunities and access to resources

At MOA Certified, we envision a world where Black people and people of African descent are no longer forcibly confined to their (closed) networks for the acquisition of resources to implement their entrepreneurial ventures, or their entrepreneurial ventures are viewed or treated as purely charitable ventures. Instead, we at MOA Certified envision a world in which Black people and people of African descent have access to inclusive ecosystems in their immediate communities or transnationally to create new innovations or advance their innovations, that believe it is a given to go out of their way to abolish racial inequalities and translate this conviction into action.

Equal players on an international level

We at MOA Certified envision a world in which people of African descent can shape their economic lives in a self-determined way – that is, not only in Africa, but above all in the global economy as established players with equal rights. In this context, we at MOA Certified envision a world in which innovations, products and other creations by Black and African people are accessible to all consumers in such a way that they are able to decide for themselves which product is best for them based on their own preferences and spending preferences.

Recognizing African Traditional Knowledge as a global source of inspiration for innovation and creation

We at MOA Certified envision a world in which African Traditional Knowledge and African Traditional Cultural Expressions are equally recognized and treated accordingly. After all, they are already used by many global multinationals and organizations and serve as a source of inspiration for many of their creations and products. At the same time, we at MOA Certified envision a world in which African and Black cultural practitioners enjoy equal economic opportunity when their Traditional Knowledge and African Traditional Cultural Expressions are used as a basis for creation or as a source of inspiration.

The reality: unfortunately, today's world is (still) quite different

Misuse of African Traditional Knowledge

Many global companies utilize knowledge based on African Traditional Knowledge and African Traditional Cultural Expressions to develop and market their products. These creations, due to their uniqueness and the fact that these global companies have a lot of capital at their disposal, are making millions for their owners. However, African knowledge is often used without permission or recognition of its origins and therefore without the economic participation of the creators. This is not surprising, because unlike innovations based on new developments, which are protected by patents, trademarks and geographical indications, or can be protected as trade secrets or confidential information, traditional knowledge, as a source of knowledge that has ancient origins and is often passed on orally, cannot be protected by conventional intellectual property systems.

Questionable entrepreneurial projects with social impact

Even if global companies decide to involve cultural practitioners economically, they often market their business case as a social impact business. However, the cultural practitioners only receive a fraction of the income for the use of their artistic creations. At the same time, the precarious economic circumstances of cultural practitioners or their projected otherness are very often used as a marketing tool by global companies. Such practices not only disempower cultural practitioners, but perpetuate patterns of colonial oppression and exploitation, underpinned by racist power asymmetries.

Perpetuating neo-colonial characteristics and exploitative features of the global economy

Black people, people of African descent and African entrepreneurs face systemic inequalities and lack of access to supportive ecosystems on a local or international level. Those who manage to bring innovations to the market through persistence or comparable hard work are confronted with the fact that the products are exoticized, disregarded by trade structures or further obstacles are put in the entrepreneurs’ path. This deprives consumers of any access to products and therefore any choice when shopping. Worse still, many of these innovations are copied and their history is simply rewritten. Ultimately, the innovators and owners lack the necessary financial resources to protect them in accordance with European and therefore more capital-intensive standards or to establish them on the market.

What we at MOA Certified stand for

Creations and innovations by Black and African people have great potential

Products from African entrepreneurs have great potential. In addition, creations and innovations inspired by African knowledge or Traditional Knowledge are very successful on the international markets – even if not recognized as such by global multinationals and organizations. This potential can be tapped into if entrepreneurs and creative artists receive the necessary ideational and financial support.

Consumers hold a lot of power!

A change in consumer behavior inevitably leads to a change in economic structures, as consumer demand can influence the supply of companies. A change in consumer behavior puts organizations and companies in a position where they must provide more offerings that meet customer demand in order to survive. It would be unacceptable to refuse to adapt to the change in consumer behavior and not adapt supply to demand, neither for the suppliers concerned nor for the economic structures themselves.

Consumers are calling for more transparency

Issues relating to the diversity and interconnectedness of our society as a result of globalization and migration movements are currently as prominent as ever in the public eye. We can therefore assume that the demand for diverse products and creations that appeal to different population groups is increasing. Many consumers have also developed an understanding of value chains and the discrimination of raw material producers and producers in global trade, such as coffee and cocoa.

Transparent guidance influences consumer behavior.

It is therefore not far-fetched to harness the power of the consumer to initiate sustainable systemic change. This sustainable change in purchasing behavior can be reinforced if creations and products from Black and African entrepreneurs have appropriate, visible labeling that enables consumers to make an informed decision about their purchase and thus steer demand.

This is where MOA Certified, the quality seal for products by Black and African entrepreneurs, comes in.

Vision and Mission of MOA Certified

The vision of MOA Certified

Our vision at the MOA Foundation is to create a world in which Black and African people are equal players in the global economy, and on the world stage as a whole.

Mission of the MOA Certified

To achieve this, our mission is to build frameworks and implement measures to make visible and increase demand for the creations, products and innovations of Black and African people. This includes protecting their originality and empowering Black and African entrepreneurs to create high quality and visually appealing creations. By realizing this mission, we are paving the way for an appreciation of the real contribution of Black and African people and entrepreneurs in the global economy. In doing so, we facilitate their empowerment, their self-empowerment and ultimately their self-determination. We contribute to the participation of Black people and people of African descent as equal actors in the global economy and on the world stage as a whole, as well as to sustainable human development within their wider communities.

Mandate of MOA Certified

As part of fulfilling our mission, our specific mandate is as follows:

On the one hand

to support the development of Black and African people as local and international economic actors within six fields of action through the development and management of innovative and sustainable infrastructure and framework conditions, new and sustainable ways of visualization and innovative spaces for imagination and development and with the help of adequate capacity building measures, narrative change measures and advocacy measures and advisory activities.

On the other hand

to detect possible suspected cases of misuse (defined as: without the consent of the cultural creators, or by rewriting history around the cultural elements or other creations of Black people, or by misleading use of the cultural elements or by exploiting the poverty of African and Black raw material producers) of African knowledge, to clarify and eliminate them through cooperation, and to work with institutional and state organizations to eliminate the misuse, if necessary.

The MOA Certified message

As part of fulfilling our mission, our specific mandate is as follows:

We are creating a space for all people who identify as Black and African. We are creating a space as a bridge towards inclusive societies. It is a space that is free of post-colonial and discriminatory rhetoric, rejects any exoticizing imagery and gives everyone the opportunity to assume a share of the overall societal responsibility for a diverse, inclusive future. It is a safe space for lively exchange, for the emergence of something new and for the creation of visibility.

We invite everyone to discover this space, to experience what existed, exists, could exist and will exist and to participate. To be allowed to participate means to preserve the uniqueness of each individual in the space and to treat each other with respect in order to help shape a common future.

The MOA Certified code of conduct

To fulfill our mission, our code of conduct is non-negotiable.

The MOA Certified code of conduct formulates two fundamental obligations for all stakeholders, i.e. potential beneficiaries of the initiatives, candidates for certification and all other potential partners with regard to

  • the presentation of the creation or services they offer, and
  • the communication or advertising and marketing content and strategies you use to promote your organization, services or products.

This code of conduct includes:

  • Avoiding racist imagery, i.e. no misuse of poverty in Africa for marketing or commercial purposes.
  • The avoidance of exoticizing sweeping and unfounded statements about the continent and people of Africa.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us

After successfully completing a 12-month test pilot phase, the certification will be open to all interested companies from June 15. Further information will follow

Search for a specific product or or verify the authenticity of the certification of a product/service by filling in the MOA code here