The Observatory was set up in 2002 with the support of the African Union (former Organization of African Unity), the Ford Foundation and UNESCO with a view to monitor cultural trends and national cultural policies in the region and enhance their integration in human development strategies through advocacy, information, research, capacity building, technical assitance and advisory services, networking, co-ordination and co-operation at the regional and international levels. The Observatory is a service-oriented resource centre and a regional co-ordinating and monitoring body for a network of experts and institutions involved in policy and decision making, cultural administration and management as well as research, training and information. In all this fields a particular attention is paid to the promotion of cultural and creative industries.
OCPA mains objectives:
To collect, maintain, analyze, disseminate and update information on cultural development and cultural life in Africa within a global context.
To serve as a knowledge-based policy analysis mechanism and as a resource centre.
To assess policy-development trends in order to establish early warning signs.
To mobilize expertise and provide advisory services.
Research activities include: OCPA/Interarts Research Programme for Developing Cultural Indicators of Human Development in Africa; Regional research projects on local cultural policies, culture and poverty reduction in Africa. Training and capacity building: research on training needs; regional directory of cultural administration training centres in Africa; workshops and training sessions. Technical assistance and advisory services: support to African states in designing and updating national cultural policies through information, methodological tools. Networking: Development of regional and international cooperation frameworks.