Successful kick-off meeting marks the launch of the Connect for Culture initiative

The kick-off meeting for the Connect for Culture Africa (CfCA) initiative was a remarkable success, gathering delegates from 17 African countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the 25 and 26 May.

The meeting marked the launch of the five year initiative, which is being implemented in collaboration with the African Union. It seeks to among other objectives, contribute to an increased lobbying to African states to allocate at least 1% of their national budget to the arts, culture and heritage sectors by 2030; Increased awareness of the value of Africa’s creative sector through research and data publication, as well as strengthened partnerships and networks between stakeholders working in the CCIs on the continent.

“It is a privilege and honour to join you today to celebrate the achievement of the establishment of a new partnership in the area of arts, culture and creative industries on the continent,” Head of Culture Division at the African Union, Angela Martins said.

“The department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development of the African Union Commision, which houses the division of Culture and Sports, has welcomed the CfCA project. We congratulate Selam for this important  project which is to further the development of the creative economy on the continent.

As we launch CfCA it is hoped that the initiative will support the revised African Union (AU) Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), in the areas of legal frameworks, education, cultural infrastructures and funding in the arts and culture sector.”

The revised AU Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) was the inspiration behind the CfCA initiative idea, aimed at strengthening African CCIs to enhance the role they play in achieving sustainable development in order to facilitate the delivery of a wider social and economic impact.

“Public funding plays a crucial role in sustaining the culture sector,” Selam executive director Teshome Wondimu said. “However, the effective and fair distribution of public funds presents notable challenges that require thoughtful consideration and innovative solutions. Therefore, It is imperative that we all acknowledge the collective benefits and come together to advocate for public funding in this context.

Adding that: “With this initiative we are  establishing a network comprising diverse stakeholders from the culture and heritage sectors. We hope that this network will commence today and continue to grow and be utilised long after the project concludes, serving other advocacy endeavours as well.”

The Kick-off meeting included compelling position statements, a panel discussion, and roundtable discussions, with invited delegates from the public and private sectors including culture experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Participants shared insights and experiences on the importance of public funding for the culture sector and proposed strategies for effective lobbying methods to secure increased budgets from both the national government and the private sector.

The CfCA initiative, which is being supported by the Swedish government, will intertwine advocacy efforts at regional and national levels through a multistakeholder regional network that will bring culture advocates together raising awareness on the benefits of investing in culture for a democratic, inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable social and economic development.

Niklas Wu-Hansson, Analyst and Deputy Head of Section, Regional Development Cooperation – Africa at the Swedish Embassy in Addis Ababa, expressed Sweden’s commitment in supporting the CfCA initiative. “Sweden has supported Selam over the past ten years”  he said. “ We have seen the positive ripple effects of Selam’s work spread across Africa. Today marks a milestone in this long-standing partnership.

Adding that: “The fact that the AU has become a close ally reassures us that the journey ahead will become even more exciting and even more impactful.”

The Kick-off Meeting program also included an evening  concert to commemorate Africa Day on May 25th. There was an electrifying performance by the Santrofi band who effortlessly blended traditional Ghanaian highlife with contemporary elements, creating a sound that was both nostalgic and fresh.

Meanwhile, the Gonder Fasiledes troupe  took the audience on a journey through the diverse and enchanting world of Ethiopian dance, highlighting the country’s rich cultural heritage. Tanzania’s Maembe Vitali added a touch of serenity to the evening with a mellow and soulful acoustic set.  The concert was a true celebration of African music and talent.


About Selam

Selam is a Pan-African organisation based  in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Selam was created in 1997 and has since  evolved into an international player, partnering with artists, cultural producers, the private sector, the media, culture institutions, researchers, and national and regional governments across the African continent as well in other regions in the world.

CfCA is being implemented by

CfCA is being implemented by

supported by

The website will be updated in the coming months.
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