November 5, 2020

AFCTA key to unlocking Africa’s cultural and creative potential

AFCTA key to unlocking Africa’s vast cultural and creative industries potential

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) which when fully implemented will be the world’s largest trade are is key to unlocking Africa’s vast cultural and creative industries potential.

A 2018 UNESCO global report titled ‘Re-Shaping Cultural Policies’ states that globally cultural and creative industries (CCI’s)generate annual revenues of over US$2 billion and are worth an eye-wateringUS$250 billion in exports globally. What is important to determine and analyse is whether the African continent is benefitting from these huge numbers and given the realities of trade restrictions and other impediments the answer to that question is a resounding NO.

The same report goes on to state that over 30 million people mostly between the ages of 15-29 are directly or indirectly employed in the sector and for Africa with its young population which will keep growing in the years to come CCI’s provide a real opportunity for employment and development of the continent as a whole as traditional industries have taken huge knocks not just from Covid-19 but other factors as well.

Though regional blocs such as Southern African Development Community (SADC), EconomicCommunity of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as the East African Community (ECA), (the latter with much greater success in the area of CCI’s due to efforts from entities like HEVA Fund)have been attempting through different interventions to make the movement of people and goods easier as this is one of the key factors in ensuring that CCI’s develop and contribute to the GDP in more meaningful ways as they should.

If one needed evidence of just how much the world is looking to Africa’s CCI’s for content and to some degree creative inspiration then the global hit song Jerusalema by South African artists MasterKG and Nomcebo (with a remix featuring Nigerian powerhouse Burna Boy) and the accompanying #Jerusalema Dance Challenge proves just how important it is for AFCTA to work especially when it comes to cultural and creative industries.

AFCTA offers an opportunity for uniformity and alignment in terms of policy to ensure creation of favourable conditions for various industries including CCI’s to grow and thrive and through easing of trade in creative and cultural foods and services and movement of people, goods and other services this will create greater regional and continental integration which is key to Africa’s development.

For all these key developments to bear fruit DATA will be key to ensure that all decisions from local to government level in terms of policy ,investment and other key areas are backed by thorough and nuanced data which allows for Africa’s uniqueness and complexities to be taken into account. At Andani.Africa we see this is but one of the main aspects of our business hence we have invested in developing tools to collect, process and make sense of data all of which will help us reach our overall goal which is to contribute towards the ‘Growing (of) CreativeIndustries in Africa’.

Though Africa as a continent faces huge challenges and the establishment of AFCTA has given hope to many that the development of the continent will finally be driven from within the continent itself hence there is much at stake as this massive trade area and all its accompanying benefits begins to have the effect it should in terms of easing trade and movement restrictions for people, goods and services across this vast continent.

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