South Africa, Zimbabwe exchange notes on developing sustainable music sector

Cultural policymakers and key cultural actors from South Africa and Zimbabwe met on 13 August 2021 to share their experiences in designing measures to support sustainable development of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) with focus on the Music sector. Zimbabwe sought to gain business skills, Intellectual Property Protection ideas and Copyright management from one of Africa’s fastest moving music sector. Meeting virtually, experts from renowned public and private South African Music stakeholders shared their experiences and advice on how to improve music industry in Zimbabwe considering how the South African music society has advanced over the years.

Facilitating the meeting, Mr Farai Mpfunya and Ms Yarri Kamara highlighted that in the context of a rapidly growing African music market, the Zimbabwean music sector has the potential to grab new opportunities, provided a sufficiently enabling environment is in place. Industry players strongly underscored that the unique sounds of the various genres of music Zimbabwe produces because of cultural diversity during a situational analysis conducted by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.

Peer to peer exchanges are carried out within the framework of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility for the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries and are part of the Zimbabwe project “Strategy for the sustainable development of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in Zimbabwe – focus on the Music sector” piloted by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.

Ms Cleon Noah, Director, Multilaterals International Relations, Department of Arts and Culture encouraged the Zimbabwean national team to benefit from the experiences of South Africa to develop a strong strategy that strengthens the music industry by ensuring direct benefits to artists.

Additional topics discussed during the peer exchange included defining an enabling environment to include training in music business skills, involving and securing buy-in from key stakeholders to include the private sector and securing political will.

Mr Zwelakhe Mbiba, encouraged Zimbabwe to have a well organised structure for easier coordination of the industry. He highlighted that South Africa had a national cultural observatory that collected statistical data to help inform and advance national policy making. This has assisted the country to be well-organised to coordinate the diverse industry that consists of multinational companies, independent record companies, broadcasters and Collective Management.

Mr James French highlighted that the music production landscape has changed with the advancement of technology where music production has become cheaper making it difficult for recording companies to keep up the competition. He also added that there is massive inflow of international content meaning that local artists are struggling to compete with international artists who have enough marketing budgets that local artists do not have. The major recommendation was the need for strong support from the government through education support, funding, grants mechanisms among other things for better music making and to address the gaps.

Zimbabwe is one of dozen countries benefitting from a new EU/UNESCO capacity building programme entitled “Supporting new regulatory frameworks to strengthen the cultural and creative industries and promote South-South cooperation.” The EU/UNESCO project in South Sudan is supporting Zimbabwe to develop a Strategy for the sustainable development of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in Zimbabwe with the focus on the Music sector and the digital environment. The programme aims to support developing countries with: the development of regulatory frameworks (laws, strategies, policies and measures) for the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), including intellectual property rights related to CCIs; strengthen skills and capacities to support long-term cultural policy development and implementation that support the CCIs; and create peer-to-peer mechanisms to strengthen institutional capacities for the CCIs through South-South cooperation activities.


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