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Seychelles: Establishing culture as a driving force for economic and social development

Context
Seychelles is currently drafting a “Seychelles Medium-Term National Development Strategy: 2013-2017” with the intention to make the culture sector a strong driver of its economy. Drawing upon a mapping study entitled “The General Overview of the Creative Industry in Seychelles,” the government intends to design a creative industries policy and a music industry strategy.

Aim of the mission
Two experts, Ms Avril Joffe (South Africa) and Mr Lloyd Stanbury (Jamaica), have been selected by the government to assist them in drafting policies on the creative industries and music industry, and to set up a process of consultation with key stakeholders to provide input to these documents.

© Avril Joffe

Activities undertaken
Ms Joffe and Mr Stanbury undertook their first country visit during the month of January 2012 when they met with key stakeholders, namely the ministries of Economy; Technology and Industry; Tourism; Education; Heritage and Culture, the National Arts Council; the National Conservatoire of Performing Arts; the National Library; the Seychelles Tourism Board; and numerous artists and cultural entrepreneurs.

They also reviewed current policies in the country, strategic plans and implementation strategies in the areas of creative industry, cultural policy, finance and economics, ICT and communication, education and training, employment and social development and tourism. This preparation work led to a preliminary draft of the creative industry sector and music sector policies, focusing on drawing the most benefits from the Seychelles creative potential, while minimising possible institutional and organisational difficulties in their implementation.

Ms Joffe and Mr Stanbury undertook their second country visit in March and April 2012 during which they engaged in a consultation and negotiation process to draft policies together with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, the Consultative Committees, artists, partners and other stakeholders. These exchanges enabled to fine tune the policies before their validation during a two-day workshop by the main cultural actors from both public and private realms and helped increase the sense of ownership of the policies by the Seychellois. The policies highlight the need for artists and cultural practitioners to engage with global trends and practices in order to gain sufficient entrepreneurial skills to truly increase their presence on national, regional and international markets. With this in view, the policies call for further and more inclusive growth and development support for the creative industries from the Government of Seychelles.

Results
The Creative Industries Policy suggests that a dedicated Seychelles Agency for Creative Industries be created to ensure its implementation. The main functions of the agency would be to coordinate existing support measures, carry out capacity building on the creative industries and their specificities, and generate exposure for the artists and produce of these industries. As regards the music sector, an Implementation Strategy for Music Industry Development assesses the main operations within the sector and recommends possible solutions and initiatives to the specific needs and challenges as well as opportunities of the sector.

Follow-up activities
In December 2012, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Principal Secretary of Culture and the project coordinator for the creative industries presented the Creative Industries Policy, as well as the implementation strategy for the development of the music industry to the Cabinet of Ministers. Both documents were approved.
The functions of the Seychelles Agency for the creative industries were presented by the Office of the Vice President in September 2013 and are pending approval by the Cabinet of Ministers. The Agency should be operational by the end of 2014.
Finally, a regional Cultural Strategy for the Indian Ocean Commission based on the Creative Industries Policy is being developed. The draft strategy has taken into account the development of a commercial and economic platform which will greatly benefit regional trade between the creative products and services of the islands of the Indian Ocean.

 

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