UNESCO supports the music industry sector in Morocco
Morocco has taken an important step in support of artists and creativity. A new law on the status of the artist, artist mobility fund "Africa Art Lines" and the creation of the Bureau of Moroccan Music Export (MoMEx), strengthens the music industry in particular, in line with the objectives of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ratified by Morocco in 2013.
The new law, in addition to some other measures, were detailed in Morocco’s 2017 periodic report on its implementation of the 2005 Convention. These steps echo the findings of a new study carried out in 2016 by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, demonstrating the immense potential of cultural industries in terms of growth, employment, inclusion, and trade in goods and services.
Challenges remain, however. In 2014, according to a Ministry of Culture statistical report, the export of music and other digital media records amounted to 36 million Moroccan dirhams (US$ 3.9 million), while the value of imports amounted to 197 million Moroccan dirhams (US$ 21.3 million).
There are still too few job opportunities for creators and music producers. In recent years, the number of arts festivals has increased significantly, as have some music festivals (e.g. Visa for Music in Rabat). Nevertheless, effective policies still need to take a holistic approach to support the value chain (moving from creation to access through production and distribution) and adapt to changes in the digital environment.
It is in this context that UNESCO organized in Rabat, on 13 March 2018, a consultation meeting for the implementation of the project "Music as a driver of sustainable development in Morocco". Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ and implemented by the UNESCO Office for the Maghreb in cooperation with the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and Communication, this two-year pilot project aims to strengthen, through appropriate policies and measures, the music sector as a source of integration, employment and income, especially for young people. Among the planned activities: development of a national strategy, support for the professionalization of music education, implementation of pilot projects for artist residencies, and actions in favor of digital distribution.
"We need to take advantage of the high potential of culture and creative industries for value creation, income and employment, especially for young people, while focusing on education and training,” said Marcela Masiarik, representative of the German ministry.
The meeting in Rabat was preceded on 12 March by a public presentation of the 2018 UNESCO Global Report "Re | Shaping Cultural Policies", followed by a debate, with the participation of Brahim El Mazned, Director of the Visa for Music Festival, and Christine M. Merkel, Director of the Culture Program at the German National Commission for UNESCO.
"Ensuring the plurality and diversity of cultural expressions is essential. The Visa For Music festival, the Bureau of Moroccan Music Export or projects such as the production of anthologies of music in Morocco allow the principles of the 2005 Convention to be put into practice. They make culture a reality and a real factor of sustainable economic and social development," emphasized Mr. El Mazned during the debate.
This Global Report assesses on a regular basis the impact of policies and measures taken worldwide to implement the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. It offers a new perspective on innovations and challenges in the governance of culture and support for creativity policies, through different themes: cultural policy, digital domain, civil society, sustainable development, mobility of artists, gender equality and artistic freedom.
“In Morocco, and beyond, it is important to invent public policies that support a rich, diverse and accessible cultural offer. Thanks to digital platforms, export strategies and new patterns of South-South mobility, new voices are emerging," concluded Ms. Merkel.
Mr. Abdelhak Afandi, Director, Arts Department, Ministry of Culture and Communication, Ms. Antje Göllner-Scholz, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Morocco and Mr. Michael Millward, Acting Director, UNESCO Office for the Maghreb, jointly opened the consultation meeting.