In recent years, Mali has experienced increasing security incidents that jeopardized the ongoing peace process and social cohesion. The country has stressed the role of culture in peace building and reconciliation to offset these insecurities. The safeguarding and protection of heritage, in particular, has been at the heart of the Malian cultural policy, providing a tangible response to destructions and damages sustained by attacks during conflicts. Nonetheless, the domestic creative and cultural industries sector has continued to develop through festivals, biennales, and civil society initiatives, as well as support mechanisms for audio-visual sector and photography.
With a view to further professionalize the country’s growing creative and cultural industries (CCIs), the country is turning its attention to the reinforcement of legislative framework and development of public policies. The Cultural Policy Framework Document, published in 2013, lists three strategic priorities: work conditions of cultural professionals, structural reinforcement of creative and cultural industries, and reinforcement of the place and role of culture in all relevant policies. The Document reaffirmed Mali’s commitment to establish creativity as a pillar of development, and to accelerate their support for artists and creative workers. The adoption of a 2016 decree on the status of artists which recognizes the principle of artistic freedom is a manifestation of the country’s pledge.
The UNESCO/SIDA project on the participatory monitoring of cultural policies presents an opportunity to create a space for dialogue between government actors and arts, cultural and media professionals. Through a collaborative process, the project aims to improve the structure of the CCIs, paving the way for diverse artistic expressions and greater access to local contents. This will also mark Mali’s first submission of a periodic report, which details the country’s progress on the implementation of the 2005 Convention.
On 17 June 2019, 2018 Global Report “Re-Shaping Cultural Policies” was launched in Bamako. The event was an occasion for over 60 cultural professionals to come together in the spirit of furthering the Malian cultural and creative industries (CCIs). The exchange session during the event revealed that many of the participants, despite representing diverse artistic disciplines and organizations, experience similar obstacles including lack of available funds and training opportunities. Capturing inputs from cultural actors, such as the concerns expressed by the attendees, is the central component of the four-year project Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Mali. Through improving monitoring and data collection mechanisms on creative sector, the project ensures that future policies address current, pressing challenges faced by creators and cultural professionals on the ground.
N’Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, the Minister of Culture, reaffirmed the Ministry’s commitment to give tenacious support to state and civil society actors, ading that arts and culture “occupy a central role within the national strategy towards sustainable development.”
She also hailed the 2018 Global Report “Re-Shaping Cultural Policies” as a game-changing publication that serves as “an orientation device, a reference document and an advocacy tool.” This UNESCO flagship publication draws on Quadrennial Periodic Reports, submitted by ratifying countries of the 2005 Convention, to identify global trends and innovative practices. A multi-stakeholder national team, consisting of public sector and civil society members, was introduced during the event as the main lead on Mali’s first report due in 2020.