Sensitization Workshop on Mainstreaming Culture & Creative Industries' interests into the Trade Policy of the Gambia

Tuesday, 11th October 2016 - Wednesday, 12th October 2016

Paradise Suits, Kololi, The Gambia

October 2016

The Cultural and Creative sector is wide and covers among others the visual arts, performing arts, arts fairs, heritage, film and video, television and radio, computer animation, music, publishing, design, fashion etc. Europe, the ECOWAS Region and throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) The potential for business cooperation and cultural exchanges amongst ECOWAS countries, Europe and throughout West Africa is vast and worth putting into practice. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) signed by the ECOWAS Commission, Member States and the EU is aimed at promoting trade between the two regions not only in the exchange of goods but also the promotion of Services, including Cultural Services between the two regions. The EPAs set out to help African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries integrate into the world economy and share in the opportunities offered by globalisation. Properly managed trade can help the development of the Culture Sector by creating employment, giving access to a wider range of good-quality products, reducing average prices and generating income. The Culture and Creative sectors play a crucial role in local development by helping cities and regions to attract investments and creative talent and is also the main driving force for tourism.

Many of the countries in the ECOWAS region including The Gambia are signatories to UNESCO Conventions which helps to protect and promote Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The framework of these Conventions promotes trade and the implementation of broader commitments to strengthen international cooperation in the field of culture. Cultural Cooperation in trade agreements between the EU & ECOWAS is defined in the EU communication COM (2007) 242 on a “European agenda for culture in a globalizing world”. Cultural cooperation amongst ECOWAS countries and with Europe would help foster cultural diversity and exchanges. Furthermore under the ACP-Cotonou Agreement, the Services sector including the development and growth of Cultural Sector is one of the major areas of focus of development. The sector suffers from a number of challenges which hampers its development and growth. Amongst these include absence of requisite policies to support its development, weak capacity of Culture & Arts Intermediaries to organize themselves to advocate for policies and regulations to support their growth and development. Furthermore, the Intellectual Property regime of most of the countries in the region is weak and lacks enforcement. Artists also have difficulty accessing finance due to the perceived risky nature of the sector.

The first phase of this project involved a study of the different Culture sectors in Sierra Leone, Ghana, The Gambia and Nigeria, the key Partner countries to this project. The Study helped to identify their weaknesses on strategic Cultural Industries within the ECOWAS region, it also helped to identify cooperation opportunities with Europe and possibilities for enhanced market access for ECOWAS Culture operators, goods and services in Europe. The study examined the implications and made proposals in relation to opportunities available for the Culture and Creative Arts sector within the context of the forthcoming Services negotiations on the ECOWAS – EU Economic Partnership Agreement and other Trade Agreements such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS). The emphasis of the Study was to report on the policy, regulatory gaps and institutional weakness of sub-sectors within the Culture Industry in the four West African countries including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and The Gambia. By so doing identify solutions which can be proposed by Culture Stakeholders under both bilateral and multilateral Trade Agreements to contribute to the development and growth of the Culture sector in The Gambia and other ECOWAS Countries.

Relevance of the Workshop:

This Workshop is a follow-up to the Study dissemination Seminar held at the Mansea Beach Hotel, Kololi, on the 25th November 2015. The Seminar helped to raise awareness of some of the challenges in relation to Policy and Regulations facing the Culture & Arts Sector in The Gambia. Amongst these include weak Intellectual Property regime, limited financing from government, absence of Policy to support the Sector, need for a regional ECOWAS trade and industrial policy targeting the Arts & Culture Sector, creation of a Coalition of Cultural Industries, strengthening cultural institutions and establishment to promote and develop the Arts.

The main aim of this sensitisation and mainstreaming Workshop is to enhance the knowledge of the importance of the Arts and Culture Sector to the development and growth of The Gambian economy and to build the capacity of key Culture & Arts stakeholders to be able to mainstream the interests of the Culture & Arts Sector into Gambia’s Trade Policies including the forthcoming EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership negotiations, ongoing WTO Services negotiations which also impacts on Cultural & Arts Services, and also the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme.

Target Groups for the Workshop:

Gambian Intermediaries (private, public and semi-public) whose scope of action includes promoting the development and growth of the Arts including, Culture & Arts Associations, Collection Management Societies, Copyright Bodies, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Association, Government Ministries of Trade, Ministries of Culture, Civil Society Organisations involved in Culture, Youth and Gender Affairs, Parliamentarians, EC Delegations and ECOWAS Commission Officials.

Back to News & Events