Selam, in collaboration with the African Union’s Division of Culture and Sports has organised a kick-off meeting for their new five-year regional project called Connect for Culture Africa (CfCA) on 25 and 26 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On May 25, the launch took place at the Inter-Luxury Hotel, and the program includes a keynote speech, a presentation of the CfCA and a panel discussion, followed by a concert at the Sheraton Hotel, Gaslight to celebrate Africa Day with performances from Ethiopia,Ghana and Tanzania.
“We want the Kick-off to be a forum for all delegates to network, share, aside from learning about theCfCa and its implementation plan,” Selam founder and executive director Teshome Wondimu said. “We believe that these various individuals and the organisations they represent can unite to mobilise, collaborate, and share knowledge and resources, developing a network that can advocate for useful interventions for the sector at the national and Pan African levels.”
The CfCA seeks to popularise the revised African Union (AU) Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), which is an important step by the AU, aimed at strengthening African CCIs to enhance the role they play in achieving sustainable development in order to facilitate the delivery of a wider social and economic impacts.
The CfCA will intertwine advocacy efforts at regional and national levels through a multistakeholder regional network that will bring culture advocates together raising awareness on the benefits of investing in culture for a democratic, inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable social and economic development.
Among the objectives of the project are an increased lobbying to African states to allocate at least 1% of their national budget to the arts, culture and heritage sectors by 2030; Increased awareness of the value of Africa’s creative sector through research and data publication, as well as strengthened partnerships and networks between stakeholders working in the CCIs on the continent. “By lobbying for public investment in the sectors, stakeholders can highlight the economic benefits that can be gained,”Wondimu said. “The culture and creative industries not only generate revenue through cultural tourism, but they also stimulate employment and entrepreneurship.”
The CfCA implementation will include working closely with the government agencies, research institutions/universities, the media, artists, and civil society organisations, among others. This effort is expected to result in increased political will for the sector, which will lead to budget proposals, budget bills,and, in countries where the process is further along, discussions on increased budget allocation to the culture and creative sectors.
Wondimu believes that through lobbying, stakeholders can advocate for investment in policy, infrastructure, training, and resources that support the local growth and international reach of the various sectors within the CCIs.
“Public and private funding are both necessary for the growth of the CCIs,” Wondimu said. “For the sector to grow and for there to be a sustainable creative economy, the heads of state need to be at the forefront to not only invest but also lead dialogues with the private sector for further investment and funding.”