UNESCO and EU appoint African Cultural Experts

By Martin ChemhereJohannesburg, South Africa: In a groundbreaking development aimed at bolstering cultural policy advancement in Africa, several leading African cultural industry experts have been appointed by UNESCO  and the European Union to help them to formulate appropriate cultural policies.

The African names, seven in total, are among a database of 30 technical experts to provide assistance to developing countries. They are Basma El Husseiny from Egypt, Stephen Chifunyse from Zimbabwe, Youma Fall (Senegal), Francisod’Almeida (Togo), William Codjo (Benin) and South Africans Avril  Joffe and Mike van Graan, Secretary General of Arterial Network.

The aim of the project is to assist countries, particularly in the global south, to implement and take  advantage of the opportunities afforded by the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion  of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The pool of experts has been selected to reinforce human and institutional capacities in beneficiary countries at the national and local levels by establishing legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks necessary to develop the creative sector  in those countries, and introduce policies that address the role of culture in social and economic development, especially through the cultural industries.

The experts are drawn from Latin America (7), West and Eastern Europe (11), Africa (7), Caribbean (2), Australia (1) and Canada (2).They will gather in Rabat, Morocco 21-21 March for a training and briefing workshop, and are to be available to participate in at least one mission of up to 63 working days until 31 August 2012.

Joffe was the lead consultant in helping Arterial Network to devise its cultural policy framework for African countries, and El Husseiny and Van Graan participated in the Cultural Policy Task Group that helped to develop this framework.