Maria Kiwanuka, Uganda’s Minister of Finance should have known better than to ignore the creative economy during the reading of the 2013/2014 Budget. No wonder it sent most of the politicians present to sleep. And yet the power of the creative economy as a contributor to GDP and an alleviator of unemployment and poverty can’t be over emphasized.
Fiscal savvy countries elsewhere now view culture as having an important part to play in tackling some the world’s biggest challenges of unemployment and poverty. South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile recently revealed at a United Nations (UN) debate that the country’s film industry contributed R3.5bn (approx. UGX1trillion) to its GDP (gross domestic product). He further revealed that the cinematic sector employs 25,000 people according to research conducted by the country’s NFVF (National Film and Video Foundation). He also said that the country’s books sector is estimated to bring in R5bn (approx. UGX1.3trillion) further emphasising South Africa’s implementation of its Msanzi Golden Economy Strategy. The annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival alone brings in R500m (approx. UGX130bn) into the City of Cape Town and that’s from hotels to ticket sales and more.
Such discourse is what you will find at the annual African Creative Economy Conference (ACEC), that’s if only tax-obsessed government officials care to attend. This year’s conference takes place in Cape Town in South Africa from October 6-10, 2013. It will put the spotlight on the continent’s creative industries, not just as economic drivers but will also highlight the potential contribution of the Creative Industries to the eradication of poverty, democracy and human rights. The conference is geared for creative practitioners, government bodies and policy makers, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, journalists and culture vultures.
“The ACEC is a key opportunity to interact with leading players in the field, and to engage with critical challenges and innovative solutions that are part of the process of growing the outputs and efficacy of the creative sector in Africa. A key end goal is to facilitate the production and distribution of African creative goods and services, within the continent and globally”, according to Korkor Amarteifio, Chairperson: Arterial Network.
The inaugural event was held in Nairobi in 2011 and then in Dakar in 2012. The African Creative Economy conference rotates through different regions in Africa and this year’s Cape Town venue is held against the backdrop of that city’s global spotlight as World Design Capital 2014. Keynote addresses and discussions will take place in the 108-year-old City Hall, from whose balcony Nelson Mandela made his first public speech to crowds gathered in the Grand Parade hours after being released from prison in 1990. The keynote addresses and debates are expected to broadly cover the following subjects;
*The state of the African economy in a global context,
*Examining and re-defining the creative industries under African conditions
*Discussing their relevance to African economic, social and political developments
*Sharing up-to-date research on the creative sectors throughout Africa
*Exploring the creative industries within the broader political and economic context of Africa, the global south and north-south relations
*Key markets for African creative goods and services and practical suggestions on the way forward.
The African Creative Economy Conference is a project of the Arterial Network, a dynamic, continent-wide grouping of non-government organisations, creative industry companies, festivals and individual artists engaged in the African creative sector. Established at a convention on Goree Island, Senegal, in 2007, Arterial Network is now the largest intercultural network on the continent, with official national chapters in 40 African countries.
The implementing partner for the ACEC 2013 is the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI). For many years, the Institute has assisted people to build profitable enterprises, with marketable products for global markets. Among Institutions of its kind, the Cape Craft and Design Institute has an enviable reputation for best practice. The third African Creative Economy Conference promises to be a conference with a difference in which presentations and discussions will be complemented by the arts in practice. As delegates debate and share information and research, an exciting parallel programme of public events will showcase the boundless creativity of the African continent. Programme offerings will include, but are not limited to, African film, theatre, literature, music, fashion, food, craft and much more – many of these activities will take place in the dynamic innovation district in the eastern part of the city, known as The Fringe.
Registration for African delegates will cost R 1,947 (approx. UGX500, 000) for early bird confirmation before June 30, 2013 while registration after that will cost R 2,239 (approx. UGX580, 000) per delegate from Africa. The conference fees cater for daily conference packs, mid-morning tea/coffee & snacks, afternoon tea/coffee & snacks, light lunch, free wireless Internet access and access to all conference sessions. Delegates will have to cater for their own travel and accommodation.
Text: MOSES SERUGO