Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Mashariki Conference a first for Tanzania

By By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter

Culture Development East Africa-CDEA, an NGO based in Tanzania that works in research & advocacy for capacity building in the arts. Is launching for the first time in Tanzania, an impact investment conference for the creative economy, on the 11th to the 12 th of May at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam.

The targeted creative industries are film, music, fashion design & textile. It was their research findings back in 2015 that spurred them to bring about this conference. Where in they noted that financial conditions together with the regulatory framework are areas that need most work within the regions creative economy.

“Creative industries in East Africa are concentrated at the precursor and embryonic stages of industrial development, which present a challenge for venture investment and large scale job creation.”-Ayeta Wangusa, executive director CDEA. 

Yet, in spite of these challenges, the fashion and design accessories, film and music industries have indicated a growth trend in international trade through trade in goods and services.  Tanzania’s creative industries exports increased significantly from $2.5 million in 2003 to $69.9 million in 2012. Similarly in Uganda, the creative industries exports increased from $0.4 million in 2003 to $26.5 million in 2012. Imports grew at a higher rate reaching $121.05million in 2012, which led to a trade deficit of $51.13 million in 2012.(UNCTAD, 2015)

“We’re inviting impact investors who are already working in other impact areas like agriculture. To plead the case for the creative economy…"-Grace Matata business development manager at CDEA.

The conference is looking to have representatives from the government particularly from the host country Tanzania, various impact investors & key stakeholders in the creative economy.  Already investors like Heva Fund, Viktoria Ventures & GroFin have confirmed their participation. Where invitations have been sent pending confirmation to the Minster of Arts, Culture, Information & Sports Dk Harrison G. Mwakyembe and the Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce Hon Charles J. Mwijage. Here stakeholders of the industry like Faisal Kiwewa, director of Bayimba Festival in Uganda and Yusuf Mahmood Director of Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar as well as Tanzanian award winning film director Amil Shivji will be part of the panelists present at the conference.

“In the list of priorities highlighted in the Tanzania Investors Guide 2014-15, like broadcasting & manufacturing. There are areas here that are linked with the creative economy like film which fits in broadcasting, textile industries that fit in manufacturing. Yet there’s little awareness among the creatives that we’re in the development agenda…"-Ayeta Wangusa.

It’s clear in order for the creative economy particularly in Tanzania, to move from the precursor & embryonic stages onto the nurture and growth stages. There is a need for foundations, development organisations and the private sector to pioneer new mechanisms and models. In the building of an ecosystem for social impact investment and or public-private financing partnerships so as to solidify the creative economy infrastructure.  

It looks like this conference is a step in the right direction, individual spaces are available for 180,000Tshs. Where limited complementary seats are available for creatives in the region, email secretariat@cdea.or.tz for further details, also spaces are available for those who’d like to exhibit their goods.

Article was first published in the DailyNewspaper in Tanzania

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