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Uganda Becomes First African Country to Receive Korean Aid for Preserving Culture Kampala

Monday, 8th August 2016

Uganda Becomes First African Country to Receive Korean Aid for Preserving Culture

Kampala

With Uganda's creative economy fast turning heads on the global scene, it has become the first African country to benefit from the UNESCO Korean Funds-in-Trust, established in 2007 to enhance creativity in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

The Republic of Korea has granted $145,000 (about sh500m) to a project for strengthening the artistic, design, marketing and management skills of Ugandan craft workers in order to improve the production and quality of the products.

             Dubbed Creative Industries Development for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: Strengthening the sustainability of creative industries in Uganda, the project supports the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ratified by Uganda in April 2015.

            The project comes at a time when Uganda' s creative economy is facing domination by foreign products such as crafts. The one-year project covering the entire country will be implemented by Uganda's National Commission (UNATCOM) for UNESCO.

 Uganda plagued by diminishing creative skills

Ms. Rosie Agoi, the Secretary-General of UNATCOM said such a project was long noverdue--following a mapping survey they conducted in 2009 which established that Uganda was plagued by diminishing creative skills—notably, with artisans trading consideration for tradition, appreciation of market requirements, quality and designs for quick money.

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"This has also seen the flooding of our market with crafts products from neighboring countries with traders marketing them as our own, said Ms. Agoi.

 Yesterday's launch at the National Theatre and Crafts Village drew technical experts from relevant ministries, departments and agencies as well as the private sector and universities to make a task force  co-chaired by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLD) and the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

 The project Task Force will lead a mapping exercise of the cultural industries in three region across the country, and oversee a series of training sessions to improve skills in artistic design, marketing and management to improve the quality of cultural goods, and lay the foundations for increased income generation.

 Mr. Mohamed Djelid, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa told the taskforce to bring on board additional stakeholders from across the country to ensure that there is a nationwide ownership of the project.

 In his remarks at the function, Mr. Djelid had earlier emphasized the importance of maximizing the benefits of the project by ensuring it attained the widest reach possible.

 "In fact, this is not a UNESCO project as many people perceive it. This is a project of Uganda and it is important to ensure that as many Ugandans as possible are involved in it said Mr. Djelid. He beseeched the Uganda government to ensure sustainability of the intervention.

 Culture contributes 4.5% to Uganda's GDP

Ms. Kuruhira Juliana Naumo, Commissioner Culture and Family Affairs at MGLD said the project was in line with the Vision 2040 which emphasizes promotion of creative industries, cultural values and cultural dialogue. Naumo said culture contributed 4.5% to Uganda's GDP.

         Counsellor Kim Il-Hoon, the Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Korea encouraged Uganda to lay emphasis on promoting its creative industry if it wants to match the feat reached by Korean creative products such as "Gangnam Style.
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