Africalia considers culture as the foundation and the ultimate purpose of human development. The sustainable, tangible and intangible welfare of individuals and communities is intrinsically linked to their active participation in their culture and their ability to interact with the ones of other communities.
Because unlike natural resources, cultural resources are inexhaustible and non-polluting. The production and dissemination of cultural goods and services constitute considerable economic levers for Southern economies and the fight against poverty.
Because they create filmed, danced, sung stories… that discuss the time they live in, performing and creative artists as well as authors play a crucial role in the freedom of expression and the democratic debate. A dynamic cultural sector is an important indicator of the vitality and independence of a country’s civil society.
Because they help acquire knowledge and non-academic skills, cultural and artistic practices complement education and enhance teaching and research. The gains and skills arising from the mastery of an artistic discipline will benefit these individuals throughout their lives.
Because the behaviour of men and women towards each other and towards their environment is deeply rooted in their culture, it is of vital importance to take into account the cultural dimension in order to bring about changes in attitude and to develop the ability to change of human societies.
Because they value each other’s identity, the promotion of cultural diversity, the dialogue between cultures, art and creativity are vectors of 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), which have been ratified by over one hundred countries, emphasise the importance of the role of culture in the world of development. However very few campaigns, which could have tangible and sustainable effects for professionals in the creative sector and their audiences, are actually developed together with the cultural actors in the field. In spite of the speeches and the international conventions this recognition is only rarely transposed into support policies for countries of the South.
Africalia’s mission is to contribute to the recognition of culture as a key area of development cooperation and a field in which the international solidarity between communities and individuals can be expressed in a creative and enriching manner.
To this end Africalia works with several African, Belgian and international associations, networks and umbrella organisations. In Africa it implements work programmes that are developed and managed with cultural associations that are embedded in the civil society of their respective countries. These associations can thus play a role in national development policies and efforts and ensure that the economic, social and educational potential of the creative industry is exploited for the benefit of local audiences.
In Belgium, Africalia starts a Global Citizenship Education programme. In partnership with Belgian cultural institutions, Africalia aims to give more space to African cultural expressions in the Belgian cultural network.