Local artists and players in the creative industry are upbeat following the launch the Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) recovery plan launch on Friday which will see then benefit from a Rwf300m fund to help them overcome the impact of the New Coronavirus outbreak.
The initiative was launched on Friday by ArtRwanda – Ubuhanzi, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Rwanda Language Academy of Language and Culture, in partnership with Imbuto Foundation, to support enterprises and individual artists to recover from COVID-19.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, measures to stop the spread of the pandemic required that some of the planned activities within the CCI be halted or postponed.
COVID-19 financially affected the artists in the CCI and most of them lost market for their products, as well as short and long term contracts. Some of the artists closed their offices, cancelled their workshops, and ended contracts with their employees.
Singer Mani Martin said the initiative is timely and will help artistes and creatives to adjust to the new normal of doing things and to monetize their work.
“I want to thank the Government through the Ministry for thinking about this initiative. Artistes and creatives have been struggling to make ends meet. This will be one way to support us to pick ourselves up,” Mani Martin said, urging beneficiaries to use the support wisely for the benefit of the Rwandan society.
The ‘Afro’ singer said that their work has since shifted online, with artistes now having to find ways to monetise their work on line. He said that the government should also help them by putting more efforts on enforcing intellectual property rights for them to continue earning royalties on their work.
Umutoni Rwema Lauren, the co-founder of Uzi Collections, a local fashion house, said that the initiative goes to show that the government recognises the role of the creative industry and its contribution to the economy.
“It is a sector many people don’t attach or see the actual value but we are delighted that the government has thought about us and it is encouraging for us to do even better so that more can be achieved in future,” Rwema said.
The Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi said the arts and creative sector were hard hit by COVID-19 as it was among the first to be affected when concerts and different activities were suspended.
“The government has come up with different initiatives, with different partners to ensure that the sector is supported to overcome the impact of COVID-19. We fully understand their plight but together we will come up with solutions to ensure that those in the sector are supported,” Mbabazi said, highlighting how the recovery plan will work.
She thanked artists for the awareness and sensitisation work they did during the pandemic, urging them to use the grants productively to produce quality work that can go beyond the Rwandan borders.
According to Alice Alice Nkulikiyinka, the Country Director of BPN, the implementing partner which will handle the selection process, sustainable projects with a bigger appeal and enterprising in nature will stand a high chance in the selection process.
The Cultural and Creative Industry recovery plan will focus on supporting 7 CCI federations namely: Rwanda Music Federation, Rwanda Film Federation, Rwanda Plastic Arts Federation, Rwanda Writers Federation, Rwanda Beauty and Fashion Federation, Rwanda Traditional Dance Federation and Rwanda Performing Arts Federation.
The CCI recovery plan has 3 components, the first being Rwf300m financial grants to support initiatives that support art enterprises and artists, that will eventually attract financial gains and knowledge sharing.
It will also promote the aspect of shared resources, facilities and training opportunities in the cultural and creative industry, for artists to use and benefit from at no cost while the third component is the Made in Rwanda ArtCampaign to engage Rwandans to learn about, love and purchase Made in Rwanda art.
By 2024, the Government of Rwanda intends to create 1,500,000 decent and productive jobs for economic development from various interventions and sub-sectors including creative arts as one of the growing and promising industries, according to NST1.
In line with that, in August 2018, The Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture in partnership with Imbuto Foundation launched ArtRwanda-Ubuhanzi, a programme which aimed at identifying and supporting young and talented Rwandans within the creative arts industry for job creation.
In its first phase, 587 young artists, from the six categories, were selected at Province Level. From these, the top 68 best artists were identified at the national level to attend the boot-camp and later competed for the final prizes.
Six artists were finally selected as winners in each category winning 1,000,000 Rwf each, along with three best projects, winning seed funding of 10,000,000 Rwf, each.
As part of the prizes package, the finalists’ benefit from a one-year incubation programme and access to ArtRwanda – Ubuhanzi showroom to exhibit their products.