“Although the East African region has the potential to develop new areas of wealth and employment as it is rich in cultural heritage and inexhaustible pool of talents, the region still remains a marginal played in the global market. While the East African Community (EAC) Partner States produce world-renowned artists, still the contribution of creative and cultural industries to our economy has remained insignificant. Likewise, due to lack of incentives, financial, educational, infrastructure and technology support from the EAC Partner States and the business community, our local creative industries are not yet fully developed.
Nurturing and exploitation of creative and cultural industries in the EAC through an effective regional legal framework can contribute to job creation, income generation and poverty alleviation.” – Hon. Dr. James Ndahiro (Rwanda), Member – East African Legislative Assembly.
On 27th January 2015, the EAC Creative and Cultural Industries Bill, 2015 was read for the first time and committed to the Committee of General Purpose during the Fourth Meeting of the 3rd Session of the 3rd Assembly plenary session held in Arusha, Tanzania.
Between the 9th and 10th of March 2015, this Committee has been covering all EAC Partner States holding public hearings to sensitise stakeholders on the Bill and receive views and contributions from them to be incorporated into the Bill.
From the outset, it is clear that the aim of the Bill is to promote creative and cultural industries in the East African Community. The Bill defines “creative and cultural industries” to mean “the industries that originate from creativity or accumulation of culture which through the formation and application of intellectual properties, possess potential capacities to create wealth and job opportunities, enhance the citizen’s capacity for arts, and elevate the citizens’ living environment in the areas specified in the Schedule.”
The Schedule of the Bill lists several industries as falling part of the creative and cultural industries, including: “visual art industry, music and performance art industry, cultural assets application and exhibition and performance facility industry, handicrafts industry, film industry, radio and television broadcast industry, publication industry, advertisement industry, product design industry, visual communication design industry, designer fashion industry, architecture design industry, digital content industry, creativity living industry, popular music and cultural content industry, sports activities” among others as may be designated.
To achieve the above aim, the Bill seeks to establish the Creative and Cultural Industries Development Council that shall provide an environment conducive to the enhancement and stimulation of creativity and innovative endeavours among the citizens of the EAC.
A copy of the Bill is available here.