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Conference calls for Arts Council creation

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Players at the just ended two-day national conference on arts and culture held in Lilongwe have called for action recommending several issues for the progress of the creative sector in the country including establishment of the National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) whose bill is yet to be enacted in Parliament.

The development comes barely two days after the Nahec taskforce engaged the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs in Lilongwe to look into the issue of having the bill enacted.

“We call for the establishment of National Arts and Heritage Council – set up cultural centres throughout the country. Youth cultural groups should be organised throughout the country. In 10 years, there should be development of cultural infrastructure where information will be available,” the statement reads.

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The call to action has also reaffirmed creatives’ commitment to strengthening capacity building, education and training, identifying the key areas for capacity building such as finance, administration and trainings.

“It is also important for the sector to enhance visibility of Department of Arts and Culture. We call for support for sustainable funding for arts and culture in Malawi by government and donors,” it reads.

Several issues have also been raised in the call to action including a call to government to ensure that the Patent Bill be tabled.

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The other recommendation is that a baseline survey be carried out to appreciate the contribution of the culture sector to the national economy.

Director of Arts in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife’s Department of Arts Humphrey Mpondaminga said the conference, which was opened by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi, created a platform for dialogue, which was missing.

“A lot of issues have been raised but we need to prioritise and look at those we can commit to now. We will review and sit down. Nahec is a priority but we also have other bills such as the Classification Bill which will be tabled in the November meeting,” Mpondaminga said Thursday.

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife held the conference in conjunction with Malawi National Commission for Unesco under the theme ‘Leveraging Arts, Culture and Heritage for Sustainable Development’.

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