Zimbabwe launches a five-year Music Strategy to boost the sector as a main driver of economic growth
On June 1, 2022, the UNESCO office in Harare together with Zimbabwe’s Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, celebrated the launch of a five-year music strategy that aims to transform the music sector in Zimbabwe into one of the country’s main economic drivers.
The music strategy is a result of a national project "Designing a strategy for the sustainable development of CCIs in Zimbabwe" funded by the EU and UNESCO. The programme provides expertise and capacity building through peer-to-peer exchanges with fellow public officials in partner countries, and has contributed significantly to the creation of international and South-South networks for creativity.
The Strategy was developed over the course of two years in a participatory, transparent and inclusive process, which involved multiple consultations with different stakeholders in many parts of the country, rigorous research, and peer-to-peer learning with counterparts in Nigeria and South Africa.
Speaking at the launch event, Minister Coventry said the strategy was an important milestone for the music sector. She appealed to creatives and stakeholders to include the private sector in supporting the strategy with the goal of industrialising the music sector and transforming it into one of the country’s economic drivers.
"We know that our music sector faces different challenges, and we believe that this strategy is talking to many and coming up with our own solutions to ensure that these problems are not just fixed but have a sustainable solution and a way forward. I am confident that this strategy is going to work and transform the music sector and it will add value to the talents that we already have."Hon. Kirsty Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation
In her remarks, the Minister thanked UNESCO experts Ms. Yarri Kamara (Burkina Faso) and Mr. Farai Mpfunya (Zimbabwe), as well as the whole national team that was behind the drafting of the strategy, indicating the need to make the strategy a living document.
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) was represented by Deputy Chair of the Board, Mr. Marcus Gora, who applauded the continued collaboration between UNESCO and NACZ, and the Director of NACZ, Mr. Nicholas Moyo. Mr. Moyo said the main drive of the National Music Strategy was to create a robust, adaptive, and economically sustainable music sector in Zimbabwe. He expressed the role the strategy will play in helping the music sector operate efficiently and profitably in the national, regional, and international music arenas. Musicians and creatives involved in the music industry were also present, including award-winning Zimbabwean musician Nutty O.
Nutty O applauded the efforts made to develop the strategy, saying that it was an important stepping stone to the sector being taken seriously and that it had the ability to boost careers.
"For the longest time I believe our creatives have been doing a lot of these things on their own ... So, this gathering kind of brings the right intensity we need towards the right direction." Musician Nutty O
Legendary Zimbabwean music producer, Clive “Mono” Mukundu expressed his appreciation for the support being shown to advance the culture and creative industries through policy. He encouraged artists to attend additional workshops and awareness campaigns to learn more about the strategy.
"I am happy we are now realising that talent alone is not enough, and this strategy is everything. So as a music producer, it gives me hope that we are going somewhere because as of late, everything has been stagnant. So, it gives me hope that we are now moving in the right direction." Mono Mukundu, Music Producer
Also speaking during the launch, the UNESCO ROSA Head of Culture, Mr. Francisco Gómez Durán stated in his speech that a strong joint commitment from key stakeholders nationally, regionally and internationally remains paramount to the successful implementation of the Zimbabwe National Music Strategy. The strategy, developed in cooperation with key stakeholders and UNESCO, with the support from the European Union, is a first step in building a long-term economically sustainable music industry in Southern Africa.