MTV Networks is launching an African version of its signature continent-specific annual music awards event.

The announcement was made in the Nigerian city of Abuja today (Aug. 6) by MTV Networks Africa senior VP and managing director Alex Okosi. He revealed that the MTV Africa Music Awards will take place at the city’s Velodrome venue on Saturday Nov. 22.

The MTV African Music Awards sees the entertainment giant partner with Kuwait-based Zain, which claims to be the world’s fourth largest telecommunications company, with a subscriber base of 50 million active customers and operations in 15 countries across the continent, including Nigeria.

Zain has come on board for a three-year deal with MTV Networks Africa, it was announced in Abuja today. As well as sponsoring the awards, Zain is weighing in with support on its mobile platforms through facilitating the SMS voting system, and delivering specific ringtones, wallpapers, idents and programming.

In a statement organisers said the MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain will take the form of a two-hour TV broadcast, combining performances from top African and international stars with award presentations and an international superstar host.

The MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain will be broadcast around the world on MTV plus online, mobile and radio platforms, including pan-African TV channel MTV Base (DStv Channel 322 and GTV), MTV2 (USA) and African terrestrial TV channels STV and AIT (Nigeria), TBC (Tanzania) and TV3 (Ghana), and selected partner radio stations across the continent.

MTV’s first award event on the African continent will throw the spotlight on contemporary African and international genres including hip-hop, hip life, R&B, rock, Afro Pop, Afro Beat, kwaito, bongo flava, dancehall, soul, rock and funk.

Okosi says in a statement that “The MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain will create an unprecedented global platform for African musicians to shine and to spread the word about Africa’s extraordinary music talent.”

In the build-up to the November ceremony, four concerts featuring nominees will take place in Johannesburg (Nov. 5), Nairobi (Nov. 8), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Nov. 13) and Lagos (Nov. 15).

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