Policies for Audiovisual Development in Africa

Content

The entirety of the cinematographic and audiovisual chain in Africa is in severe difficulty. There has been a sharp drop in production and in some cases its virtual disappearance; a loss of many cinemas, with those that remain deteriorating steadily; the marginalisation (often exclusion) of African films from both cinemas and television screens; and a general loss of expertise in the crafts of production. The roots of this crisis have not just economic, but also political and professional elements including:

' A lack of understanding, interest and / or disengagement by governments, expressed by the absence of policies to support the audiovisual sector, or the failure to follow through and actually implement existing policies
' The weakness of public broadcasters, in particular expressed by a lack of commissions from independent producers, and a lack of exchange of programmes between African public broadcasters
' The absence of African funding sources, whether these be public funds, broadcasting commissions or private investment
' The weak and sporadic nature of local production activity, which makes it impossible to consolidate skills and develop talent
' The disappearance of the exhibition market, due to the economic and physical disintegration of Africa's cinemas. Screens which remain are concentrated in major cities, and subscribe almost exclusively to Hollywood releases
' The lack of organised regional or sub-regional markets, even in modest terms, for distributing African audiovisual works
' The absence of well-structured organisations to represent African cultural professionals
' Long-standing problems with respect to the collection of royalties for creators
' Increasing piracy of audiovisual works

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