16.06.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Burkina Faso: New facts reveal the contribution of culture to development

The creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy and a powerful force for sustainable development in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. Burkina Faso is a good example. A brand new methodology using the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) shows the economic weight of the cultural sector in the country.

Over 170,000 persons had a cultural occupation in 2009 (2.8% of the workforce and almost twice the number of persons employed in the public sector). Cultural activities contributed nearly to 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for that same year.

CDIS results also show that Burkina Faso has built a strong normative, policy and institutional framework and that mechanism for civil society and minority participation are well in place, resulting in a solid system of cultural governance capable of guiding and stimulating growth in the cultural and creative sector.

“The Culture for Development Indicators demonstrate that it’s possible to provide facts and figures to measure the different ways in which culture contributes to national development processes,” says Guiomar Alonso Cano, responsible for Culture at UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar.

Access to cultural infrastructures

The indicators also reveal inequalities in the distribution of cultural infrastructures, training and equipment among the 13 regions of Burkina Faso, which may limit access to cultural life, expression and individual opportunities. To the same extent, the sustainability of natural and cultural heritage in the country still strongly depends on the capacity of regions to record, preserve and enhance their heritage assets.

The Culture for Development Indicators project was launched in Burkina Faso on May 2013.

After one year of work, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Burkina, in partnership with the National Institute of Statistics and Demography (INSD) and UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, convened a working session to debate and discuss CDIS indicators on 10 June 2014 in Ouagadougou. Financial and technical partners were also invited, as many of them have been involved in the development of UNESCO CDIS Indicators.

Growing interest

Burkina Faso is the fourth African country and the first French-speaking Africa, to implement the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators. Namibia and Ghana rolled out the CDIS in 2013 and Swaziland is finalizing the process. Cote d’Ivoire will be engaging in the production of UNESCO indicators before the end of the year and other West African countries have already expressed their interest in generating these indicators that provide evidence to include culture in national and international development strategies and plans.

The Culture for Development Indicators project is part of UNESCO’s implementation of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

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