Egypt/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.1 Short overview

Culture (and the youth), may has the least attention by the government according to the public Budget, which shows that the budget of the Ministry of Culture is one of the lowest.

We suppose that this situation is the result of the fact that the people in charge of culture are employees (e.g. the manager of National Center of Theatre is an engineer of sound), while culture needs intellectuals and artists to defend it and to demand government material and moral support to culture.

To get an adequate funding for culture, the State's approach must stand on the basis that culture is a service, not a commodity, and the higher budget culture gets the higher moral results it achieves. Furthermore, the largest part of cultural funds is specified to the management and salaries of the employees instead of spending on artistic production, which means misdistribution. 

On the website of the Ministry of Culture, under the title Mission and Goal of Ministry of Culture, we can read this excerpt: "Funding is the main obstacle facing the cultural work, especially under the difficult economic conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to look for innovative ways of funding through cooperation with the capital and the national institutions."

In this claim, the Ministry of Culture forgets that the "culture of funding" is absent from the minds of most of those who are capable to finance who are ignoramuses and concerned only with quick profit. 

But after the revolution, there is a remarkable development in the funding culture based on individual contributions, some cultural and artistic initiatives in the post-revolution is mainly funded by contributions of individuals, especially the celebration of "the art square" which lasted one and a half years, thanks to the individual’s contributions.

As for the procedures, they are governed by stifling bureaucratic regulations that hinder completely the artistic process. The Ministry of Culture tried to escape that bureaucracy and so established the Cultural Development Fund, funded mainly by 10% of the income of the Antiquities Organization to support some cultural projects outside official institutions. The Fund, however, has special standards which are not governed by a steady vision regarding the finance of projects.

There was serious difficulty in obtaining definitive data pertaining to budget or number of employees or any internal regulations, which was caused by the intransigence representatives of the Ministry of Culture.

According to Dr. Said El Masri, Assistant Minister for the development and review of the cultural system of the state at the Ministry of Culture, the bodies affiliated with the Ministry of Culture enjoy relative independence from the Ministry; the Ministry’s acquisition of data is only possible after addressing each body separately as each of the bodies receives its budget directly from the Ministry of Finance and the regulations for appointments are determined by each body’s head without reference to the Minister of Culture.

Chapter published: 07-04-2016