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AMA was first launched as a program initiated by the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF) and a group of African and Arab organizations to facilitate and encourage the mobility of artists and cultural operators within the African continent. In 2001, YATF participated in meetings in Egypt, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, together with different organizations and cultural activists from Africa and the Arab world. The meetings aimed at linking organizations and individuals, and at creating informal continent-wide networks. The participants agreed that one of the major obstacles for artists and cultural professionals in Africa was the persistent lack of funds specifically allocated to support travel.