Article

EUROPEAN UNION/UNESCO project empowers Uganda’s local film industry

Behind the scenes of the set for “The Blind Date” filmed in Uganda © Loukman Ali

UNESCO and Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) organized a capacity-building workshop for film professionals, experts, and other stakeholders from 30 August to 1 September 2021 as part of the project “Creating tax incentive measures to support local content development and the professionalization of the local film industry” funded by the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries. The workshop follows a series of consultation meetings UNESCO, the MGLSD and the European Union led with stakeholders from across the country, to identify the main needs and challenges faced by the film sector in Uganda.

The 3-day capacity-building workshop reviewed specific technical aspects relating to the proposed measures for the development of the film industry, and launched a broader discussion on film policy formulation and implementation in Uganda. Over 30 industry stakeholders attended the workshop, both physically at the National Theatre in Kampala, and virtually via Zoom. Keynote presentations featured insights from cultural industry experts in the tourism, research, and legal fraternity.

The workshop was opened by Ms. Juliana Akoryo, Commissioner of Culture of MGLSD, who introduced the purpose of the workshop and thanked all the partners for their generous support.

We are grateful for this opportunity to discuss the development of the film industry in Uganda with experts and scholars from relevant industries, and this project could not have progressed without the strong and continued support of the European Union and UNESCO.
Ms. Juliana Akoryo, Commissioner of Culture,Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Uganda

During the workshop, six key topics were discussed, including: 1) The role of civil society in the development of Uganda’s film industry; 2) How to ensure effective and accountable service delivery to the film sector; 3) Evaluation mechanisms and implementation time frames for the project; 4) The Importance of public funding to the local film sector; 5) The legal processes involved with policy formulation and implementation; 6) The Importance of public-private partnership in the development of the local film sector.

Following this successful engagement with stakeholders, the project National Team and experts will finalize the proposed measures for the development of the film industry in Uganda, together with an implementation plan, and present them to parliament for formal adoption.

It is indeed inspiring to see the active engagement of such a wide variety of Ugandan stakeholders who share a vision for strengthening the local film sector—recognizing its role in promoting cultural diversity as well as its impact on sustainable development—and who are combining their knowledge, resources and experiences to provide a roadmap for its development.
Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director and Representative for Eastern Africa

Following the guidance of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and through the various projects funded by the UNESCO-EU partnership for the governance of culture, UNESCO has been supporting the development of the Film industry in Africa. As part of the 27th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso, UNESCO will launch a new report on “Africa's film industry: trends, challenges and opportunities for growth” during a High-Level Panel on 21 October 2021.