Democratic Republic of the Congo: harnessing the cultural industries' potential for development

© Bernard Boucher

Context
In recent years, cultural industry development has been high on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s agenda. The country’s achievements include creating a collective society for the management of intellectual property rights, finalizing a national book policy and transforming an existing fund for cultural promotion into an institution for public funding and organizing a cinema week that enabled a mapping of the film sector to be carried out.

Aim of the mission
Acknowledging that a coherent cultural policy is essential for development, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has requested technical assistance to enable professionalization of the culture sector and to develop a cultural policy that would implement UNESCO’s 2005 Convention in an effort to foster its cultural industries.

Such a policy would enable different sectors of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's cultural industries, notably the music sector, to grow and fully reach their potential for sustainable development. Bernard Boucher (Canada) and Francisco D’Almeida (Togo) have been selected by the government to assist in setting up a comprehensive legal and regulatory policy framework focused on the development of the country's cultural industries. The goal is to enable the Democratic Republic of the Congo to realize these industries' potential for development on social and economic fronts.

Activities undertaken
During their first country visit in April, the experts took part in numerous information sessions and encounters with the main stakeholders involved, from the Ministries and the public sector, as well as with national experts and cooperation partners. The main focus was on assessing the current situation, both from a policy perspective and with regard to the goals and challenges of the culture sector, notably the music sector, with a view of identifying key areas of action. A series of preparatory activities were carried out with a view of developing a relevant cultural policy and accompanying sectoral strategies, notably a training workshop on cultural policy design.

In preparation for the second country visit in June 2012, mixed working groups combining public representatives and cultural operators built on this work to develop a preliminary cultural policy declaration that identified priority policy areas of action. This declaration was further developed by the experts in collaboration with the national team, before being presented to the main national stakeholders for validation. In parallel to these activities, the experts participated in the organisation and activities of a workshop on the music sector, which gathered a great number of artists and cultural operators, and produced a series of specific recommendations for the development of this sector.

Results
The cultural policy declaration is currently being approved by the Government and adopted by the Parliament and will engage the Ministry and participating private sector representatives to develop and implement a national cultural policy. This declaration provides the scope, principles and objectives, as well as guidelines and recommendations for the policy and will notably lead to the development of specific laws on the status of artists and on cultural funding, as well as set up an integrated support mechanism for cultural industries. These initiatives will in turn pave the way for a comprehensive and locally designed cultural policy that meets the needs of, and benefits fully from, the country's cultural potential.

Follow-up activities
Following the technical assistance mission, a Declaration called "Declaration on Cultural Policy of the Government" was adopted in August 2013 by the Council of Ministers.
In addition, a Steering committee, whose mission is to prepare a draft law on the National Cultural Policy, was established.

Back to top