Q: Can you tell us a bit about your career and the connection it has with the Creative Economy in Africa?
A: I have worked as a practitioner in the print media and as media advisor for an international development organisation in the Republic of Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania, respectively. I am co-founder and Executive Director of Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA), a creative think tank in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. CDEA was incorporated in October 2011 to provide cultural and Pan-African thought leadership for creative, social and scientist innovators to create and innovate through structured workplace learning, incubation, research & advocacy and capacity building for social change. It also innovates on how space can be used to enhance sustainable workplace productivity and green community lifestyles.
I was a member of the UNESCO Expert Facility (2015-2017) and am currently a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility (2018-2022) for the 2005 Convention. I am also a steering committee member of African Cultural Policy Network (ACPN).
From 2014-2017, I managed a research project titled: ‘Research In Culture And Creative Industries Focusing On The Film And Music Sub-Sectors Contribution To Creative Economy In Tanzania And EAC Common Market’, whose findings fed into the two annual Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conferences in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which I also curated. I have designed CDEA’s Creative Economy Incubator and Accelerator Initiative which was launched in November 2016, targeting East African fashion and accessories designers, filmmakers and musicians from Uganda and Tanzania.
Q: You have recently started a new PhD project in connection with the creative economy in Africa could you tell us about the project and what you want to achieve?
A: I am currently a PhD student in Media and Communication Research in the University of Leicester, School of Media, Communication and Sociology, hosted by CAMEo. My PhD is taking practice as a research approach to establish if creative entrepreneurs in selected creative hubs in the East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Kampala integrate Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) objectives in their production and manufacturing processes and urban regeneration activities. The research will establish if there is co-relation between national cultural and urban policies and the industrialisation development agendas of the Republic of Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda. The study will frame policy recommendations that offer opportunities for creative entrepreneurs in the design sector to be able to contribute towards a circular economy and the urban regeneration of the three East African cities.
Q: What do you think are the main challenges faced by creatives operating from Africa countries (you can talk here specifically about the countries you are familiar with)?
A: The research carried out by CDEA highlights the key challenges facing the creatives in Tanzania and other East Africa countries, and can be summarised under the following framework conditions:
• Financial Framework Conditions: Most of creatives run micro businesses that are not bankable because they are considered high risk. In addition, there are no guarantee financial systems targeting creative industries.
• Industrial Framework Conditions: Creative content producers in Tanzania and wider the East Africa region are at the precursor and embryonic stages of industrial development, with limited incentives and capacity support to stimulate industrial growth.
• Market Framework Conditions: There is a market for creative products such as film and music in Tanzania, but they controlled by telecoms and broadcasters and aggregators, with limited trickledown effect to the creatives.
• Cultural Framework Conditions: There are clusters for creative and cultural industries that are mostly privately organised. However, in Tanzania, the National Arts Council-BASATA has played a pivotal role in clustering the artists under four arts federations namely; art and craft, film, music and performing arts.
Knowledge Framework Conditions: There is limited knowledge development (research) for the creative economy in the East African countries. Most of the creatives are self-taught and hardly rely on formal knowledge for their development.
• Regulatory and Policy Framework Conditions: There is a weak copyright management framework, with the broadcasters in East Africa as the biggest copyright infringers since they do not pay royalties to the digital content creators. Instead, they ask the content creators to look for advertisers who can cover the cost of broadcasting time.
• Support Framework Conditions: No policy measures to support creative startups to stimulate innovation, unless they are linked to social sectors such as health, water and education. Mobility funds are limited which hinders opportunities for creatives to network.
Photos courtesy of Ayeta Wangusa