Creativity is a solid foundation for a new African economy. Art, culture and creativity are fundamental to the lives of communities and individuals.
Culture is what makes us human. It is a fundamental right. Creativity and imagination allow us to emancipate and liberate ourselves. Participating in culture is as essential as water for people and stimulates global change, both social and political. Creativity is not a luxury, it is an inexhaustible, non-polluting, peaceful resource that creates dignified and sustainable jobs.
Since 2001, we have been working with artists and cultural organisations active in various contemporary artistic disciplines: audiovisual, performing arts, literature and visual arts. Our mission is to support, collaborate, structure and network these creators in order to include culture and creativity at the centre of economic innovation and social transformation in Africa. We also mobilise the Belgian cultural sector to raise public awareness of African creativity.
Africalia considers culture to be both the foundation and the goal of human development. The sustainable material and immaterial well-being of individuals and communities is intrinsically linked to their active participation in their culture and their ability to exchange with those of other communities.
Because unlike the exploitation of natural resources in the soil and subsoil, the use of cultural resources is unlimited and non-polluting. The production and dissemination of cultural goods and services are considerable economic levers for the economies of the South and the fight against poverty.
Artists, creators and authors play a crucial role in freedom of expression and democratic debate because they create filmed, danced and sung stories that speak to the times. A dynamic cultural sector is an important indicator of the vitality and independence of a country's civil society.
By enabling people to acquire knowledge and skills outside the classroom, cultural and artistic practices complement education and reinforce teaching and research. The knowledge and skills that come from mastering an artistic discipline will benefit people throughout their lives.
Because the way men and women behave towards each other and towards their environment is profoundly linked to their culture. Taking the cultural dimension into account is crucial to transforming mentalities and the ability of any human society to change.
By valuing individual identity, promoting cultural diversity and encouraging dialogue between cultures, art and creativity are vectors for peace and mutual understanding between communities.
The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), ratified by over a hundred countries, underline the importance of the role of culture in development. However, these declarations are rarely translated into the formulation of policies to support the countries of the South.
Similarly, few actions likely to produce tangible and lasting effects for professionals in the creative sector and their audiences are put in place in consultation with cultural players on the ground, whether in the North or the South.
Africalia's mission is to contribute to the recognition of culture as a key sector of development cooperation and an area where international solidarity between communities and individuals can be expressed in a creative and enriching way.
To achieve this, Africalia works with a wide range of African, Belgian and international associations, networks and umbrella organisations. In Africa, it implements work programmes designed and managed with cultural associations that are firmly rooted in their country's civil society. These associations can thus play a role in national development policies and actions, and ensure that the economic, social and educational potential of the creative sector is exploited for the benefit of local audiences.
In Belgium, it is launching a programme of education in global citizenship and solidarity. In partnership with Belgian cultural institutions, Africalia aims to give African cultural expressions a greater place in the Belgian cultural network.
In 2022, Africalia's support will focus on cultural employment, training, access and participation for all in cultural life in 8 partner countries.