By Okunade Adekunle
The African Union Commission, AUC, and the 13-man Jury of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, have released the highly-anticipated 2016 Nominees List for the Continental Categories of Africa’s leading awards project.
The 2016 AFRIMA Continental Nominees List was released to the public via the media and on the AFRIMA website www.afrima.org  on Tuesday, September 6, two weeks after the Nominees list for the Regional
Categories of the awards were unveiled on Monday, August 22 at a press conference in Lagos.
The 22 continental nomination categories include different music genres, as well as coveted categories of “Artiste of the Year in Africa”, “Best Video in Africa”, “Best Producer in Africa”, “Best Songwriter in Africa” and “Revelation of the Year in Africa”.
This year also saw the introduction of an innovative category by the International Jury of AFRIMA titled “African Fans Favourite”, to recognize African artistes who create chartbusting, anthemic songs that propel the artistes to great popularity within and outside their respective countries and regions.
Reiterating the Jury’s position on fairness and transparency, Associate Producer, AFRIMA, Ms. Adenrele Niyi, said the gap between when the Regional and Continental Nominees List were released was necessary for
the Jury to ‘painstakingly review and grade the qualified entries submitted and carefully and accurately fit them into their appropriate categories’.
“There is the need to be accurate right from the process of verifying eligibility of entries, to the process of collating and finalising results. Screening and selection of entries are evolving processes which we work painstakingly at to ensure transparency and fairness”, Ms. Niyi stated.
The Regional Categories which featured Best Female Artistes and Best Male Artistes of the five regions, nominated 65 artistes while 184 nominees make up the newly released continental categories with online
public voting expected to begin on Monday, September 12 on the AFRIMA voting platform domiciled on www.afrima.org 
Also commending the commitment of the AFRIMA Jury to the adjudication process, Director of Communication/Sponsorship, AFRIMA, Ms. Matlou Tsotetsi, observed that having been tasked with the responsibility, the Jury dedicates time and effort to get the best expressions of the rich African cultural heritage in music.
Tsotetsi said: “The urbane mix of African sounds in sync with modern tunes and works that promote the positive image of Africa to the world, are some of the guidelines the Jury worked with during the screening/selection exercise. AFRIMA will continue to maintain exemplary standards and uphold African music and culture as it had done since inception in 2014. The process is very transparent and the public can follow the entire process online and make any enquiries to the AFRIMA Secretariat”, she concluded.
Public voting for the nominees in the different categories of the awards opens on Monday, September 12 and ends Saturday, November 5.