Successful Regional Meeting in Zanzibar Paves the Way for Enhanced Public Funding Advocacy in Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Participants at the recently concluded regional meeting included representatives from NWGs in Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.
Participants at the recently concluded regional meeting included representatives from NWGs in Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

The Connect for Culture Africa (CfCA) initiative recently organised a regional network meeting on February 11th in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

The gathering convened representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs) and influential figures, including policymakers like Fumba Chama, the Permanent Secretary responsible for arts in the Zambian Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Arts, and Juliana Naumo, the Director of Gender and Community Development in the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development.

The primary aim of the meeting was to foster connections among representatives from National Working Groups (NWGs) in Zambia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. These groups presented and discussed the outcomes of their inaugural meetings held earlier in the month.

The NWGs play a pivotal role in enhancing national presence across, with the CfCA striving to provide targeted lobbying and capacity building support for the culture sector. Additionally, NWGs are positioned as custodians of strategies and decisions, ensuring that project interventions align with national considerations and benefit from diverse perspectives. This will eventually establish a consolidated and collaborative national network among cultural actors, providing a platform for advocacy.

The NWGs is made up of representatives from various sectors, such as artists’ unions, national arts councils, civil society organizations, researchers, academics, private sector entities, and experts in copyright and intellectual property frameworks. Their collective responsibilities span advocacy, policy work, and monitoring the commitment of African Union member states to allocate 1% of public funding to the culture sector.

The inaugural meeting in Zanzibar witnessed representatives from the four countries sharing insights from their respective NWGs meetings. A notable challenge that emerged across all countries was the lack of government goodwill to allocate funds from its budget, leading to discussions within the neutral ground provided by the private sector.

The NWGs emphasized the need for the arts sector to strategically define itself and showcase its value to authorities. Participants advocated for artists to leverage digital spaces for economic independence and contribute to national revenue. Discussions extended to cultural exchange programs, suggesting the establishment of dedicated Ministries of Arts and Culture and the formulation of policies to promote local art on national and international markets.

The road ahead involves a baseline study on public funding for the culture sector, advising on research proposals, and sustained support throughout the research process. The inauguration of NWGs in these countries signifies a significant leap towards cultivating vibrant and financially supported cultural sectors. Stakeholders, undeterred by challenges, remain united in their commitment to CfCA’s vision, ushering in a new era for cultural advocacy and collaboration.

This inaugural NWGs meeting laid the groundwork for a strengthened national network and intensified efforts to lobby for increased public funding from the government. Members will conduct periodic meetings during the research phase and organize debrief sessions to ensure a comprehensive report.

The establishment of the NWGs resulted from action points discussed during last year’s Roundtable discussions among stakeholders, civil society organizations (CSOs), and representatives from the Ministry of Culture and affiliated government agencies in the four countries. These discussions focused on enhancing public investment in the Culture & Creative Industry and fostering inclusivity within the diverse cultural expressions across the continent. One resolution emerging from these talks was the creation of a National Working Group, supported under CfCA, with a key role in strengthening stakeholder organizations to advocate for the rights and interests of their members, among other responsibilities.


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

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The website will be updated in the coming months.

Contact : Lucy Ilado –  Regional Programme Director  |  Email:    Whatsapp:   +254 700 322 664

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