Teleconference on

“Issues in Financing the Arts and Creative Sectors in Today’s Africa”


Summary of Talk by Lupwishi Mbuyamba

Director, OCPA and African Music Council 

19 December 2013



I.           Funding for culture and for the arts remains a matter of high priority for African governments:

·  the African Union Conference of Ministers of Culture in October 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria, was dedicated to this issue

·  Regional Economic Commissions: the UEMOA (for West African Francophone Countries) has just completed a large consultation on this topic in Ouagadougou(12-14 December 2013)

·  Research and Specialized Institutions and Associations: the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) has decided to make available and publish, in 2010, the Proceedings of the Symposium organized in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, June 2000 by the OAU with support from the Ford Foundation under the title ”POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND EXPERIENCES OF FINANCING CULTURE IN AFRICA


II.         From my point of view, these are some of the key issues in funding the arts and culture in Africa:


1.         Funding for arts and culture is needed in Africa like elsewhere and should be reflected in any legitimate cultural policy

2.         Art and culture are reflected less and less in international cooperation program priorities while approaches such as Cultural Diplomacy are coming back to the front of international relations

3.         Africa is a rising part of the world today, and culture and creativity play a key role in these "new developments"

4.         Western views do not always coincide with the African vision and expectations for the future: a dialogue is essential and a capacity building program - respecting basic identities of being and of expressing- needs to be considered as a guarantee for sustainable progress

5.         Guidelines proclaimed by African Governments, the African Union, like AFRICAN CULTURAL RENAISSANCE and CREATIVE AFRICA should be considered seriously by those interested in investing in research, preservation, conservation and promotion of the arts in the continent and abroad

6.         Concerns about the ‘Creative Economy's’ economic benefits should not ignore the apparent gratuity of the arts, an area whose full appreciation includes an ethical approach of culture and human civilizations

7.         Culture has been generated by people, culture should get its legitimacy and validation from the people: the best address for those willing to invest in the arts in Africa is to look  - not at the surface and impressive  demonstrations - but by going to the roots, identifying the real needs  and address them. This means evaluating the impact of the actions undertaken on people’s life and building on the progress of countries. The UN General Assembly has just recognized this reality, a basic one, for sustainable development.


III.        Some illustrations of the vitality of the arts and of significant places to be considered for funding in Africa are:

In West Africa: Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou: FESPACO, SIAO, Music Libraries, Theater Festivals, Schools of cinema, Schools of Theater, Cultural Centers…E.g. the EU has committed to invest in the FESPACO 2015

In Central Africa: Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa: In Brazzaville (The City of Brazzaville has now been proclaimed a UNESCO Creative City): Music Festivals (FESPAM, Feux de Brazza, Nuits du Congo), African Music Council Headquarters, Poto Poto School of Painting, School of Fine Art. In Kinshasa: Symphonic Orchestras, Chamber Orchestras, Choral Music Academies, Institutes for Visual Arts and for Performing Arts, Strip Cartoons, Independent Cultural Centers. E.g. the Prince Claus Fund, AFRICALIA, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Monaco Principality and local partners are investing in these activities.

In East Africa: Zanzibar Film Festival, Busara Music Festival, Taarab Music Festivals, Dow Countries Music Academy, Aga Khan Art Gallery, Stone Town(WH site/monument), EACROTANAL for studies on languages and oral traditions. E.g. the EU and the IMC are funding Busara in 2014.

In Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Bulawayo and Harare: HAIFA, INTWASA, NHIMBE Trust, Chipawo, Music Halls, Theater and Dance centers and events, Schools of Music, Art Galleries, large Crafts Centers. E.g. a strong Scandinavian cooperation contributes to the functioning and the promotion of a Cultural Fund operating very efficiently. UNESCO and AFRICALIA are equally assisting creators all over the country.