AFRICAphonie was one of the African civil societies that participated at the just ended 2014 African Creative Economy Conference in Rabat, Morocco from 13th-15th November 2014.
Represented by its Executive Director, George Ngwane who is also a Member of the Cultural Policy Task Group in Africa, Thursday 13th of November was the official debut of the African Creative Economy Conference 2014, which ran at the National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat until the 15 of November.
The African Creative Economies Conference is an annual project of the Arterial Network, a civil society network of artists, cultural activists, enterprises, NGOs and others active in the African creative sector. Co-hosted by Arterial Network and the Associations Racines/ Arterial Network Morocco, the ACEC kicked off with an exclusive presentation and Q&A session with the Moroccan Minister of Culture, Amine Sbihi, one of the official partners of the conference. The Minister reminded the audience of the crucial contribution culture plays in human development, in creating jobs and sustaining wealth. “Africa, in spite of its cultural richness and diversity, has failed in integrating culture in its overall political programmes.
An event like the ACEC sets a dynamic and unprecedented example for the entire sector of Africa.” Arterial Network Chairperson Aadel Essaadaani explained the goals of this year’s ACEC further: “Africa has to generate its own images and ensure its intrinsic development by professionalizing its cultural actors and by preserving its heritage. This will be achieved by the logic and strategy of the ‘network’ and through a constructive cooperation with Africa’s cultural and economic partners.”
This first day of the ACEC was dedicated to an analysis of the state of the creative industries in Africa, looking into the Millennium Development Goals and how cultural operators can join forces with various stakeholders to ensure culture’s recognition in the post-2015 global agenda.
Danielle Cliche of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) reminded the audience of the historical junction the creative sector faces worldwide, one in which the UN Objectives are still being negotiated and where culture has a strong chance for policy recognition. Charles Vallerand’s concurred by underlining the need for an integrated approach to sustainable development in cultural advocacy for the post-2015 agenda, echoing Aadel Essaadani’s emphasis on the necessity of the “network” approach in lobbying strategies.
Artwatch Africa, one of Arterial Network’s flagship project, was introduced by Arterial Network Secretary General Peter Rorvik who launched a thrilling essay project on Artistic Freedom. Novelists and participating artists include Albie Sachs, Chenjerai Hove, Lauren Beukes and Yewande Omotoso.
Artwatch Africa celebrates the role of artists as agents of change and concientises the general public to the value of freedom of expression for society. The essays can be found on Arterial Network’s brand new website.
Other speakers such as Joy Mboya shared insightful stories of entrepreneurial and regional best practices in East Africa through examples of the GoDown Centre of Nairobi and the East African Art Summit, formidable showcases of thriving creative ecosystems.
Friday the 14th of November was dedicated to success stories from African trendsetters representing various arts disciplines who shared their experiences for a “Snapshot into a Creative Africa”. Speakers included world-famous fashion designer Alphadi, Touria al-Glaoui of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, flourishing Photographer Aida Muluneh and Allaune Reesberg, CEO of World Design Capital.
This 4th edition of the ACEC hosted practitioners, academics, policymakers and stakeholders from more than 30 African countries and the five continents, having become the annual landmark event to debate and formulate the strategies that help sustain and grow the creative sector in Africa. The 1st edition was in Nairobi, 2nd in Dakar, and 3rd in Capetown. Cameroon has won the bid to host the 5th edition.
Ngwane at the conference registration with great Niger designer Alphadi.