Rwanda is a country on the move. In recent years, it has achieved remarkable development and has one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa. According to the World Bank, between 2001 and 2015, Rwanda recorded an average GDP growth rate of 8%. Drawing upon its ambitious development plans such as the “Rwanda Vision 2020” and “Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2013-2018), Rwanda is aiming to transform itself into a middle-income country and transition from agrarian economy to an information-rich, knowledge-based one by 2020.
As part of its developments plans, the country also aims to build the capacities of cultural and creative industry actors in order to strengthen this industry as a strategic sector contributing to economic growth, job creation and revenue generation. In February 2015, the country adopted its “National Culture Heritage Policy”. Strategic Objective 4 of this Policy aims to “Operationalize the existing or develop new legal instruments and facilitate full exploitation of the economic potential in the creative arts”. In line with the Policy, Rwanda has already undertaken cultural mapping, and it is currently finalizing a “Strategic Plan for the development of Creative Industry”.
Against this backdrop, this capacity-building action provides a timely opportunity to enhance Rwanda’s development plans in the cultural and creative industries by creating policy dialogue between the government across key ministries such as Education, Communication as well as Youth and ICT and civil society and further map the challenges that exist in the cultural sector.
The consultation meeting was organized on 23 May 2016 in Kigali. It gathered 63 participants representing both governmental and civil society organizations. It was opened with remarks from H.E. Ms Julienne Uwacu, Minister of Sports and Culture and Mr. Mikael Boström, Head of the Swedish International Development Agency in Rwanda and the East-Africa UNESCO Office representative Karalyn Monteil. After general presentations on the 2005 Convention, five working groups were set up to discuss come up with policy initiatives and measures to include in each reporting areas of the Quadrennial Periodic Report: Policies and Measure, International Cooperation, Preferential Treatment, Integration of Culture in Sustainable Development Policies, Awareness Raising and Participation of Civil Society. All working groups reported back in the plenary. The consolidate list served as the basis for further discussion by the national team on the table of contents of the QPR. The meeting was followed by a press conference by the Minister of Sports and Culture which was largely echoed in the national media.
The training workshop took place between 25-27 May 2016 at the Sportsview Hotel in Kigali, gathering 21 participants representing governmental and civil society organizations. The Rwandan national team was exemplary in terms of interministerial representativeness and inclusion of civil society actors. Working groups were organized throughout on different reporting areas of the Quadrennial Periodic Report to identify existing policies and measures implemented in Rwanda. Team members experimented with drafting sections of the report they had been assigned to so they could benefit from the presence of the experts in complying with the drafting guidelines.
The periodic report was drafted between May and November 2016. A public presentation of a draft periodic report on 8 September 2016 provided some 63 participants from the governmental and civil society organizations and media with an opportunity to discuss the content of the report in break-out sessions. Feedback from all groups was shared with national team members and experts during the plenary . An extensive press conference was organized to present the periodic report to the media as a way of promoting information sharing and transparency. A debriefing session was organized immediately after the public presentation, which provided the national team with an opportunity to integrate the feedback received and recalibrate the work plan for the finalization of the periodic report. The national team called upon the assistance of a coordinator and an editor to meet the highest standard in content quality, consistency and meet agreed deadlines. A final periodic report has been submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval and is expected to be submitted to UNESCO by April 2017.