African Creative Economy Conference coming to Rabat

Rabat, which was recently declared the Moroccan capital of culture, will host the fourth edition of the African Creative Economy Conference, an annual project of the Arterial Network. The network is a Pan-African civil society network of artists, cultural activists, enterprises, NGOs and others active in the creative sector. The conference will run from November 13 to 15.

The ACEC, which has been celebrated since 2011, is a platform for dialogue, information exchange, networking and the strengthening of partnerships across arts disciplines. It brings together practitioners, academics, policymakers and stakeholders from 40 African countries and the five continents. This is the first time it will be hosted in North Africa.

“The North tower came after East, West and Southern Africa. The fifth edition will take place in Central Africa,” says Aadel Essaadani, Chairperson of Arterial Network and North Africa representative of that organization, in an exclusive interview with urbanafrica.


A previous ACEC meeting.

Essaadani is one of the indispensable players strengthening links for culture and development in Africa. He is president of Racines, the counterpart of Arterial Network. He says the most successful ACEC thus far was held in Cape Town last year. “There was a working synergy between Arterial Network and the municipality of the city and other institutional structures.”

Essaadani is optimistic about the next edition of this professional meeting and the possibilities of cooperation with the Mayor of Rabat, which he says has not yet materialized.

This year ACEC will address a core thematic question: how to proceed so that Africa gains market share in the world’s creative economy sector? It follows questions posed in the previous three editions.


Aadel Essaadani

“The theme of the first conference in Nairobi in 2011, was on the definitions of the creative economy, to introduce the concept as a development opportunity for Africa,” explains Essaadani. The theme for the second conference focused on the partners of the creative economy and the third conference looked at creative industries, in terms of numbers and concrete proposals, he says.

To answer this year’s thematic question, Essaadani says the 4th ACEC will work in different lines. It will look at updated figures from the world’s creative economy, and assess Africa’s share in it. It will also address the situation with regards to freedom of artistic creation and expression in Africa, and look at examples of successful arts sectors in different countries in Africa and the South.

“The conference is an encounter for professionals working on issues that affect cultural policy and creative industries in a dialogue between cultural professionals and public institutions in charge of public service,” says Essaadani.

Rabat will also open its public spaces. From November 12 to 15, Visa for Music, a meeting of African and Middle-East music will take place in different parts of town.

All images supplied by ACEC.

Gemma Solés i Coll holds an M.A. in Social Science of Development South of the Sahara (URV) and graduated in Philosophy (UB). She specializes in artistic and cultural trends and urban dynamics in Africa. She serves as chief editor for the music and performing arts section of Spanish online magazine WIRIKO, of which she is the founder.



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