Capacity Building Programme in Africa

Africa is a strong supporter of the 2005 Convention, boasting a high ratification rate. Many countries in the region are already pursuing different initiatives aimed at translating the Convention’s articles and principles into national policies and programmes. 

To help countries in their efforts, UNESCO has launched a Pilot Capacity-Building Programme in 2012. The Programme is part of a long-term strategic investment to provide countries with the tools, capacities and expertise they need to implement the Convention and to develop effective policies for their cultural and creative sectors. The Programme targets key areas requiring specialized technical support, developing tailor-made solutions that meet national needs and contexts. It is also serving to create exciting synergies between key leaders in the cultural field, and to identify  potential areas for future scale-up or action. Partnerships, information exchange, and the establishment of a network of local experts on the Convention are central priorities of the Pilot Programme in recognition of the importance of building up national technical and institutional capacity to boost the production, promotion, distribution and enjoyment of cultural expressions in Africa.

The Programme centres around four key axes:

1. Training key stakeholders

The Capacity Building Programme reinforced the technical knowledge and capacities of government stakeholders on the 2005 Convention through a one-day workshop held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on 9 June 2012 where 28 African National Commissions participated in tailor-made sessions on core principles of the Convention and their key role in its implementation, in particular in the selection of project applications for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. This is especially important given that more than 50% of applications to the IFCD come from Africa.

2.  Identifying a new generation of local experts and strengthening their expertise

32 specialists from 25 African countries were selected through a competitive selection process (200 applications received). The specialists, of whom 40% are women, received training on policy approaches to cultural and creative industries development as well as on Convention mechanisms such as quadrennial periodic reporting. Training for the English speaking specialists took place in October 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa, in partnership with the African Arts Institute (AFAI). Training for the French speaking specialists took place in Dakar, Senegal in November 2012 in partnership with the NGO, Culture et Developpement. This network of policy specialists will continue to deepen their knowledge of the Convention and in particular the technical specificities of policymaking for the cultural and creative industries in 2013 through ongoing mentoring provided by the programme partners and the Secretariat of the Convention. It is foreseen that through continued investment in their technical policy making skills over the medium to long term, these specialists will be able to provide support to Parties in elaborating appropriate policies that will allow their cultural sector to develop and flourish.

3. Knowledge exchange, analysis and information-sharing platform

Cultural Expressions in Africa Online Entry Point: The African regional entry page for the 2005 Convention was launched in June 2012. This website brings together profiles of the many projects and initiatives run by the 2005 Convention Secretariat in Africa.  It serves as a centralized online forum with links to tools, key research and details on UNESCO field offices in the region, specially designed for partners and Parties to the Convention from the region as well as individuals.     

4. Targeted needs-based interventions

The Programme is being carried out in close partnership with the International Organisation of la Francophonie, Culture et Développement , the African Arts Institute, the European Union and UNESCO’s National Commission, among others . Results will be assessed in early 2013 to inform future capacity- building strategies and activities.

This Pilot Programme is supported by the UNESCO Emergency Fund


With the support of

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