Artists must set strategic goals: Arts Council

In a wide-ranging interview with NewsDay Life & Style, NACZ spokesperson Rodney Ruwende said the organisation’s programmes were designed to help to develop arts in Zimbabwe.

BY TENDAI SAUTA THE National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) has urged artists to strategically set their goals in order to fully benefit from opportunities and programmes spearheaded by the organisation.

In a wide-ranging interview with NewsDay Life & Style, NACZ spokesperson Rodney Ruwende said the organisation’s programmes were designed to help to develop arts in Zimbabwe.

“As National Arts Council of Zimbabwe we have championed several creative projects. We have been at the forefront of championing the welfare of the practitioners in the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs),” he said.

“The biggest initiative has been the successful lobbying of Treasury to resuscitate the Arts Development Fund (ADF). This resulted in $100 million being allocated as part of this year’s budget,” Ruwende said, adding that the ADF would help to reshape the CCIs landscape.

“This fund will go a long way in supporting existing CCIs with seed money to expand their operations, support new projects and provide funding for scholarships,” he said.

“This should increase the capacity of the CCIs in Zimbabwe and hopefully contribute to the fiscus.”

He believes the country’s CCIs were poised for growth as the government has recognised the sector’s importance.

“The creative industry in Zimbabwe contributes close to US$100 million annually to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is around 6,9% of GDP, with 5,4 million people working in the sector,” he said.

“This already shows how important the sector is and the impact that can be derived from leveraging this potential for the country’s development.”

Appreciating government’s commitment to support the sector Ruwende said: “For the first time in 2019, industry practitioners had a one-on-one interface with the President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Bulawayo. This dialogue opened many avenues for the sector which the previous government did not recognise as a serious contributor to economic development.”

He said the arts sector had a rich policy background, adding that players in the sector should go through the available documents to craft their strategies to unlock opportunities.

“The government has put in place a lot of supporting measures required for the development of the arts. Looking at the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), it captures government’s desires about the sector as one of the low-hanging fruits to tap into if the country is to become an upper-middle income economy by 2030,” he said.

“The NDS1 outlines the development priorities for the sector supported by the National Culture and Heritage Policy (NCHP). NCHP recognises the indigenous cultural diversity, while affirming the aspirations, ideals and values of the people. This is through mainstreaming the cultural and creative industries within the education and developmental programmes of the nation.”

Ruwende added: “The National Cultural and Creative Industry Strategy is another policy. It demonstrates government’s serious intentions to influence investment and growth needed in the CCIs sector which has been experiencing a myriad of challenges in recent years.”

He said the nation was already leading in recognising the potential of CCIs as tools for development.

“Looking at NDS1, for example, its main objective is to increase the level of local consumption of cultural, sports and recreative products and services from 15% in 2020 to 40% by 2025,” he said.

“It, therefore, intends to do this through enhancing investment in local cultural resources, including tangible and intangible heritage such as traditional knowledge and skills, as well as music, dance, theatre and festivals.”

Ruwende believes government’s policy direction is on the right path and CCI players will benefit the most from government interventions and support outlined in the policies and regulatory framework.

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