The government’s expenditure earmarked for the arts and creative industries sector
during the last four years was in focus at a two-day interactive symposium in Nairobi
during early March.
Aptly titled ‘Finance for the Creative Sector’, the forum aimed to candidly interrogate
and review significant strides if any, which have been made on the basis of previous
It is important to point out these sessions took place barely months the wake of the
Creative Economy Dialogues last year as on official side event during the UNCTAD14.
The symposium addressed two major themes: reflections and dialogue on new models
of finance for creative industries and shifting finance policy in public, philanthropic
and private arenas.
Invitations to participate were extended to experts, professionals and creatives drawn
from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa and African-American Diaspora.
The specialist panelist’s input sought to explore the progress made on cultural data
collection and the extent of cultural policy development (at both national and county
Among the forum’s highlights were multiple interactive sessions, tackling core cultural
and creative industries [CCI] elements with focus hinged on links between the private
capital and corporate partnerships.
Some of the fastest growing segments in Africa’s emergent creative sectors identified
range from digital animation, film & television, heritage, music to fashion, design, craft
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] 2008 Creative
Industries report underscored Africa’s share of the global creative economy ranked at
less than 1%.
Participants were in consensus this percentage is a glaring indicator of the sector’s
underinvestment and potential for growth – juxtaposed against African governments
A subsequent Creative Industries report unveiled in 2010 emphasized the CCI sector
holds significant prospects to spur growth in GDPs especially for developing countries
seeking to diversify their economies.
The symposium’s participants and panelists engaged in dialogue, delving deeper into
the pressing questions of seeking investment options beyond government budgets.
One of the burning topics revolved around the dilemma of grants – a popular source
of funding increasingly sought after by numerous start-up projects within the creative
A session dedicated to address this contentious subject under banner ‘After Grants:
What Next?’ convened key leaders sourced from non-grant development, innovation
finance and philanthropy agencies.
Under review was the changing role of development financing as well as the increased
interest within the creative industries from the private sector.
In what turned into an incisive exchange, panelists made attempts to break down the
challenges abound in the transition from a predominantly donor-supported creative
sector to the “aid to trade” framework.
Of significant relevance is growing need to nurture and expand existing opportunities,
which can provide fresh conduits for new partnership models.
Once such avenues are identified, it was emphasized, these would provide insights to
and explore prospects for the establishment of a sustainable domestic philanthropic
Venture capital and funding experts likewise shared handy tips with creatives who
happen to front emerging start ups with guidelines on requirements regarding the
do’s and don’ts in pursuit of forging partnerships with potential investors.
The session on private capital and corporate partnerships addressed options within
the local banking and finance institutions likely to mobilize and spur more private
capital investment avenues.