By Sam Banda Jnr & Sapulain Chitonde Lee:
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi Tuesday launched the Copyright Fund in Lilongwe, describing it as an important fund that will among others help develop the creative sector in the country.
For a long time, the creative sector has bemoaned lack of funding to help drive its affairs and this has been worsened by the absence of the National Arts and Heritage Council, as the bill is yet to be passed in Parliament.
“This fund will help improve the welfare of artists; it will give an opportunity to the creative sector to carry out its activities and that way contribute to job creation,” Usi, who is also an artist, said.
Usi, who was the guest of honour appealed to those in charge of the fund to be transparent and make it accessible to the right people.
“Let the fund have lungs to breathe, let it grow and let people who live in rural areas benefit from it. We have well talented people in both rural and urban areas, let us promote their talent,” the minister said.
The launch of Copyright Fund comes barely a week after Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) finished its sensitisation campaign across the three cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
The Copyright Fund is a government initiative aimed at investing in the creativity and growth of copyright industries.
Cosoma Board Chairperson Maureen Masamba said access to funding has been a major challenge for copyright and cultural industries and that the establishment of the Cultural Fund was another step towards addressing the same following successful launch of Arts Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) in 2017.
“It is pleasing to note that the operationalisation of the fund is in line with pillar number three enabler five of the Malawi National Transformation 2063 Agenda which is stipulating that the creative industries have a lot of potential to transform the economy,” Masamba said.
She said the fund will be key in addressing strategic issues faced by the creative industries including production, promotion and marketing of artistic and cultural products and services at both local and international market.
Fund Manager Blessings Botha said, now that the Cultural Fund has been launched, they will call for proposals.