Egypt/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.3. Trends and indicators for private cultural financing

Regarding cinema, there is a high degree of monopoly; five or six large companies dominate the market and own cinemas, production and distribution of movies. As for theatre, Children's Theatre realizes the highest revenues. For that, there is enthusiasm for financing children's theatre, because in the end, it generates revenues that cover and exceed the costs.

Independent production companies often do not provide statements of their expenditures, production costs and revenues.

As already mentioned in a previous chapter, there is remarkable development to the funding culture based on individual’s contributions, some cultural and artistic initiatives in the post-revolution are mainly funded by volunteers and individual contributions.

See Chapter 5 (5-1-6).


Independent (Civil) Sector Expenditure

There are many independent cultural bodies in Egypt whether theatre groups or civil society organizations working in the culture domain. One sample of those is Al Mawred Al Thaqafy Foundation which receives finance from:

 

  • The Ford foundation
  • The Open Society Institute
  • The European Cultural Foundation
  • Doen Foundation

 

The 2008 budget amounted to $600,000. 73% of the amount was spent on cultural activities and programs 

There is also Studio Emad El Din which presents trainings and repetitions for the independent theatrical and musical groups, also the halls could be allocated for the professionals for a fee higher than the rent paid by independent artists.

During the process of updating this research in 2012, an attempt was made to obtain a budget module for Studio Imad al-Din, but we did not get any response from the studio. The same thing occurred again in 2013, and 2014 when the study was reviewed for updatesThe following is a sample for Studio Emad El Din budget:

The generated income development of the Foundation from 2005 to 2008:

In 2008 the Studio’s overall income increased by 6% from 2007. (Space rental decreased 9,5 % while other income increased by 90%). Basically the Studio has increased its overall income by 185% since it opened in 2005.

 

Foreign Agency Investment

There are many foreign cultural centers in Egypt. They are basically interested in teaching languages, in addition to disseminating their cultures through films, artistic exhibitions, and musical events.

Some of these centers also organize cultural and artistic activities connected to local culture and art, in addition to activities that bring together Egyptian artists and their foreign counterparts from other countries. See chapter 2 (2-4-4 and 2-5).

There are also a number of institutions. One sample of those, is Ford Foundation:
What’s noticeable in the role of cultural centers is their attempt to keep an open mind about independent cultural initiatives in the post- revolution era and the funding allocation to support these initiatives.

But it is believed that the foreign funding legal prosecution in Egypt against some of the civil society institutions, which is still going on since February 2012, , has crippled the role of foreign cultural centers in Egypt.

43 people of different nationalities are still on trial because of this trial.

Most of the institutions involved in this case are involved in legal and human rights aspects. However such a crisis may have a negative effect on any future relationship of civil society / cultural institutions with foreign financiers.

This case has no political importance any longer, it was at the time a wild card used by the military council during the country’s transitional period. Foreign financier do not have concerns based on this case specifically anymore. But the challenge is that there is no guarantees that such a wild card will not possibly be used again in the future by the Islamists, after this case have drawn everyone’s attention to the importance of foreign financing as a bargaining chip.

"terms of budgets… things are not easy to identify fully because a) our fiscal year starts in October and not in January; b) we do not allocate a specific amount each year per country but rather holistically; c) some of the “regional” organizations like Al Mawred, YATF and AFAC work in Egypt and spend our funds partly also in Egypt and I do not have the time or resources to disaggregate this info because it is classified as “regional”.

On average we have spent in 2008 around $2,600,000 and in 2009 around $2,300,000 on Arts and Culture in the region. I would say that 40% of that was spent in Egypt. Some years this has dropped and other years it has increased by a margin of 10% to 15%. Again, these are estimates."

The information mentioned earlier has been obtained from Mr. Moukhtar Kocache, Program Officer for Media, Arts and Culture for the Ford Foundation MENA region, established in Cairo.


Chapter published: 07-04-2016


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