In the first part of this article, we’ve seen how Creative Industries
kept impacting on the global economic scenario and how the developed
countries continued to benefit from these booming economies, which, as
confirmed by the UN’s report, are mentioned as the most dynamic sectors
in world trade, with an average annual growth rate of 8.7 per cent ie
USD 424.4 billion, representing 3.4 per cent of total world trade.
We have also seen the picture in Africa, the richest continent of
cultural and traditional artistic civilizations, creativity and
talents, which unfortunately, remains marginalized from the
global market of creative products with less than 1 per cent of world exports.
The United Nation’s report defines African Creative Industries as not as totally fragmented, suffering of domestic policy weaknesses and global systemic biases.
Creative Industries, which are characterized by the cycle of production, marketing
and distribution, are not complete in Africa, despite the profusion of
talent on the continent as well as the richness of cultural tradition
and heritage, with limited commercialization of African cultural and
artistic creations on both the domestic and foreign markets, according
to different studies and UN’s report.
Even though African nations,
through their ministers of culture, on the first Ordinary Session of
the African Union Conference of Ministers of Culture, adopted The
Nairobi Plan of Action for Cultural Industries in Africa including its
‘Plan of Action for Development of endogenous Cultural Industry in
Africa within the Perspective of Setting Up an African Cultural Common
Market’, 10-14 December 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya; Africa still continues to be un-beneficiary of the sector.
Why Africa needs to wake-up?
Africa needs to wake-up and think again not only to benefit its
under-utilized resources, but also not to continue being marginal of
the world economic and development scenario, which for instance only in
the European Union employs over 5.6 million people.
The report warns the situation of African Creative Industries to be
problematic as it could lead to the gradual impoverishment of the
cultural heritage of African countries. And accordingly, the trend
might continue if the development of these industries, which support
creative talents in the economies, continue to suffer of
infrastructural and policy problems. And in the absence of a secured
decent income, it is not surprising that talented people are not
attracted by a career as artist, musician, filmmaker or craft worker
and that the leakage of talent from developing economies continues to
Agoralumiere International and the Accra Group
In addressing the burning issue of these industries in Africa,
Agoralumiere International, the Pan-African Non Governmental
Organization and mandated by UNCTAD, has taken the initiative to take
the lead in setting-up the platform for the realization and development
of African creative industries and economies.
And after long journey, Agoralumiere International, at UNCTAD XII
(20-25 April, 2008) in Accra, Ghana; was able to bring together numbers
of representatives from the Pan-African creative industry sectors
and friends of the Creative Africa initiative, creative professionals,
policy makers, civil societies and citizens, in road-mapping the
platform for the future of the creative industries of the continent,
and to quench the burning thirst of African creative artists and the
Creative Africa, one of the warmest sessions
of the week-long Accra summit, held a series of vibrant discussions on
various issues including the ownership, partnership
issues and implementation of Creative Africa, with the attendance of
various professional from the film, radio and TV, festivals and live
events, music, traditional dance, theatre, poetry and literature,
fashion design as well as the full range of support activities to
creative industry value chains from copyright commissions, anti-piracy
activism, trade unions, universities, cultural magazines and newsletters,
archives, capacity development, audience development, cultural
entrepreneurship training, cultural funds for artists to African
creative industry researchers.
The discussions outlined the core
challenges of the creative sectors of different African countries,
while at the same time some experiences were also shared among the
participants; which were filed by the burning ambitions of action than
Even though various Pan-African institutions operate in different parts
and countries of Africa, the importance of bringing these institutions
together to roadmap the future of the creative industries and their
immeasurable contribution for the overall development of African
economy, was boldly highlighted.
Participants representing the already existing professional networks
such as the Observatory on Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA), the
Federation of African Cultural journalists, the African Coalitions for
Cultural Diversity, the Arterial Network and the International
Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity as well as political
partners such as the Nigerian Ministry for Culture and Tourism,
the International Organisation of Francophonie, the Danish Centre for
Culture and Development Cooperation, the German National Commission for
UNESCO and the Aspen
Institute; have also land marked the importance of a unified effort for the future ahead.
The Accra Group
After a series of wide ranging discussions, on enabling the development
of the African Creative Industries through capacity building, creative
industry growth strategies and active policies for cultural diversity;
the formation of The Accra Group was realized.
The Accra Group, setting the platform, held a dialogue based on a free
and active exchange of views in order to share a maximum of information
and ideas on how to engage Africa and its stakeholders in the
implementation of the AU and UNESCO frameworks providing visibility,
exposure, collaboration and global market access for African creators
The discussions highlighted the importance of civil society planning
and action in partnership with national governments, intergovernmental
bodies and other actors with clear roles for each party in the
implementation of the different frameworks into life and every day
practice in Africa. The deliberation centered on African ownership in
the context of global frameworks.
The Accra Group, gearing its engine, held an extraordinary session in
the National Theatre of Accra, Ghana, 24 April 2008, to emphasize on
the creation of an environment which enables the flourishing of the
creative industries and cultural diversity in Africa, locating
effective policies and measures in that respect, and outlining the best
practices and strategies for building cultural capacities and for
developing cultural industries in the specific and concrete case of
Africa and its sub-regions.
The discussion also highlighted the respective roles of the African
Union, African stakeholders represented by Agoralumiere International,
UNCTAD and other international bodies, in the process of a global
strategy for African Cultural and Creative industries development.
The Accra Group, which also won the attendance of H.E. Bience Gawanas,
AU’s Commissioner for Social and Cultural Affairs, Elisabeth Tankeu,
AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, and H.E. Yolande Bike,
Permanent Delegate of Gabon to UNESCO; has endorsed Bience Gawanas’s
recommendation using the platform to structure the African Creative
sectors under leading organizations in order to facilitate an efficient
collaboration with the African Union and to have a coherent and common
strategy for the development of the Cultural and Creative industries in
The Accra platform should also help to ensure that in each national
context, creative sector stakeholders and national governments commit
themselves to develop enabling frameworks for artists and industry
sectors through adequate policies for the cultural and creative
The platform should also be a spring point for implementation of The
Nairobi Plan of Action for Cultural Industries in Africa, endorsed by
AU, with its lists of measures for the ‘Development of Indigenous
Cultural Industry within the Perspective of Setting Up an African
Cultural and Creative Common Market’ and a Common Strategy for global
market access to African Cultural and creative products and services.
The Accra Group, finalizing its formation, noted key calendar of short
term to organize its activities and input for the Extraordinary Session
of the Intergovernmental Committee for Cultural Diversity, 23rd June –
27th June, 2008, Paris, France; which include Burkina Faso
, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal and South Africa in the African group.
The calendar also is highlighted on the Second Ordinary Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Culture metting
in Algiers, October 2008, discussing on the drafting process of the
2009 Work Plan; the Aspin Institute’s International Conference on
Creative Industries; the Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental
Committee for Cultural Diversity, December, 2008, Paris, France.