COVID-19: AU to provide emergency funds to rescue creative industry

one year ago | 23

THE African Union (AU) has resolved to set out cultural and creative industry schemes that will provide emergency funds to rescue cultural workers from the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The resolution was contained in a communique of the Virtual Forum of the AU Ministers Responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage on their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The communique was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja by the media office of the Nigeria Ministry of Information and Culture. The AU ministers, at the forum presided by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture, said the emergency fund will help the cultural workers to continue producing cultural goods and services. They also resolved to sensitise artists, actors, and musicians to use creative ways and means in producing arts and cultural products and programmes. They recommended the use of online/virtual and TV platforms for music concerts, fashion and design shows, visual arts webinars, cultural and creative industries hubs among other. The ministers advocated for heritage experts and African world heritage site managers to continue promoting and disseminating information on African sites of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) through online/virtual platforms and interactive programmes. They urged cultural workers to be in the fore front of the fight of the Covid-19 pandemic by using their arts as a tool for dissemination of key messages originated from the Ministries of Health, Africa Centre for Disease Control and W.H.O related to the disease. The minister resolved to explore schemes to be provided by the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank) through its strategy for the support of the cultural and creative industries sector. They agreed to commission a desktop survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative industries sector with a view to identify the main issues to inform national and continental intervention strategies to curb the impact of the pandemic. The ministers said they would continue to share best practices to inform policy development and curb the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector on the continent. The forum had noted with concern that the Covid-19 pandemic had a sudden and substantial negative impact on the arts, culture and heritage sector; They were worried that most cultural institutions had been indefinitely closed, their services curtailed while  exhibitions, events and performances were either cancelled or postponed. NAN reports that ministers from 31 AU member states participated in the virtual forum organised by the AU Commission for Social Affairs. The countries included Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Republic of Congo and Egypt. Gambia Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, The others are, Rwanda,  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda ,  Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Virtual Forum was coordinated by the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs.Amira Elfadil, Also in attendance were the Director of the Africa CDC, the Minister of Labour and Employment of Algeria, the President of the African Export-Import Bank , AU Commission staff members and Observers. NAN – June 5, 2020 @ 11:50 GMT |

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