African Union Recognizes Critical Role of the Creative Economy

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The African Union (AU) commissioned a report on the state of the Africa audiovisual and cinema/film sector to serve as the basis for the establishment of the Africa Audio Visual Cinema Commission (AACC) and the African Film Fund.

The AU, along with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (Fédération PanAfricaine des Cinéastes, or FEPACI), held a workshop to review the report at the African Union offices in Nairobi. Delegates from 13 countries attended the two-day workshop.

In his opening remarks, Abla Dzifa Gomashie, the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Ghana, focused on the role of government policy-making in creating an environment conducive to the growth of the industry.

The report talks about the increasing recognition in AU member states of the critical role of the creative economy in human progress and the range of social and economic benefits that derive from it. The report also notes that Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt lead African countries in annual film revenue.

The African Media Initiative (AMI) and FEPACI recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to strengthen and enhance the sector’s ability to contribute to development and to promote the creation of quality African audiovisual and film content. The two organizations will explore mechanisms for promoting widespread distribution of African film on the continent and beyond.

During the reception launching the workshop, Meredith Beal, AMI’s Sr. Technology Advisor, relayed AMI’s commitment to support development in the sector, stating that film and television content are powerful engines driving public opinion.

Delegates at the workshop were asked what they thought the media could do to support the growth of the film sector. Suggestions ranged from having a film column like is done with sports, encouraging greater exposure for African film and television personalities, critical film reviews to raise awareness and promote a film culture in Africa and a number of other recommendations.

In her closing remarks, Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, underscored the importance of the proceedings and for the various stakeholders to work together to chart the way forward.