African audiovisual and cinema commission takes shape

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Addis Ababa, June 2016 – The Ministers of culture, youth and sports of African Union member states have established the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission as a specialized agency of the continental organization.

The establishment is the result of concerted efforts led by the Kenya government, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers, the African Union Commission and leading film producing countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, among others.

A statement issued by Jane Murago–Munene, Executive Director of the Pan African Federation of Film-makers (FEPACI), recalled that AACC’s establishment was first mooted by the AU Executive Council in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2003.

It will be responsible for “the promotion of the rapid development of the African audiovisual and cinema industry and shall create appropriate structures at the national, regional and continental levels; strengthen cooperation between African States in the area of audiovisual and cinema,” the statement said. In addition, it will “promote the use of audiovisual and cinematic expressions as factors of rapid development, job creation, integration, solidarity, respect of values and mutual understanding in order to foster peace, a positive image of Africa, and prevent conflicts”.

The Commission awaits two critical stages before it is formalized:

  • Consideration of its statutes by an extraordinary meeting of the Culture Sub-committee of African Ministers next month, and
  • Similar consideration by the Ministers of Legal Affairs and Justice in October 2016.

The Commission is part of a five-programme ecosystem that is mobilizing US$410 million in programme funds for the promotion of the industry over the next five years. These resources will be raised from both the private and public sector and will be implemented primarily by the private sector.

Expected benefits to African countries

This renewed effort will have the following benefits:

  • Grow the sector from five to 20 million jobs in the medium term;
  • Grow the sector from US$5 billion to 20 billion in annual GDP contribution, in the medium term;
  • A robust audiovisual and cinema industry capable of projecting a positive image of Africa;
  • Facilitate attainment of AU’s Agenda 2063, and be a good base for the export of African film products and services to international audiences and customers;
  • Enhance capacity of the continent to meet its foreign policy objectives particularly peace building, integration, and Pan Africanism.