Zimbabwe/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

The cultural policy of Zimbabwe (2007) defines cultural industries as, ‘the production, whether for sale, consumption or enjoyment, of cultural products which seek to educated, inform and entertain with messages, symbols, information or moral and aesthetic values of a given people or society.’ There is a lot of discussion around cultural industries in Zimbabwe for example in the 2010 Culture Indaba the issue dominated discussions. 

Markets for Zimbabwean cultural industries are very slim. According to the baseline survey conducted by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, 71% of artists are marketing goods and services within the Zimbabwean market, 26.2% are accessing both local and foreign markets, while 2.6% rely on foreign markets. This makes it clear that the industry mostly relies on the local market for the consumption of their products and yet the local market is still impoverished and cannot afford to spend a lot of money on cultural industries. 

As mentioned earlier on, the government does not have enough resources to nurture creative industries. However there have been initiatives around training of practitioners working in creative industries by the British Council in partnership with the Culture Fund. In 2010 the two organisations launched a business skills training programme for Zimbabwean practitioners who have started or are about to start a business in the creative sector. The elements of the training programme consisted of training in core business skills to give every participant grounding in business skills which are appropriate to the creative industries.

The subjects on offer included brand building and communication, defining your market, fundamentals of business planning and basic financial management and record keeping just to mention a few. 

One of the major challenges of creative industries in Zimbabwe is the absence of a central authority that is empowered to show statistically the contribution of the Creative Industry to GDP. There is no coordination among ministries and the various arts groups to consolidate and share information. Although the African Union has a Charter on Statistics very little has been done to implement it in Zimbabwe.

Chapter published: 28-09-2011