The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) in partnership with the Business Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) launched the Intellectual Property and Local Content (IPLC) project.
It is aimed at supporting the production of local content in Namibia’s creative and cultural industries and align the relevant domestic regulatory frameworks to upkeep these industries.
The IPLC is funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
MoEAC minister Anna Nghipondoka said the creative and cultural economy holds great potential for social and economic development in the state and favours youth employment in particular and provides millions of jobs worldwide.
“These global figures are only possible with the necessary domestic support of content production and regulatory frameworks that advance and protect the work of creative and cultural entrepreneurs, educators, activists and practitioners. This is what this project is all about, to champion local content production and to support creative and cultural content creators in policy, in law and practice,” stated Nghipondoka.
She said the project is here to support Bipa’s work in this regard and participate in efforts to provide a more robust legal protection to our stakeholders in the creative and cultural industries.
This project combines Unesco and the EU’s work in areas of mutual interest, such as culture, education, access to information, the protection and promotion of cultural diversity.
Gaps that were pointed out include the need for strengthening intellectual property of local content producers, artists and craft makers and increasing and providing better access for artists, help them to disseminate and sell their products and very importantly, to ensure they are remunerated for their work and that there is fairness in the distribution of royalties. Capacity building and training form an important component of this project.
The EU is actively engaged in this sector in Namibia through for instance the project: ‘Museum Development as a tool for Strengthening Cultural Rights in Namibia’, the establishment of a Museum of Namibian Music (Omuthiya) and establishment of the Katima Mulilo Museum. This will promote intercultural dialogue.
Last year, the EU also supported the European Film Festival which included a range of European movies, but also providing exposure to exciting new Namibian movies such as ‘Hairareb’.
The same will be done this month during the host of the 2020 Euro-Namibia Music Festival, which once more creates platforms for the exchange of knowledge and experiences between Namibian and European artists. The EU delegation is planning master classes centring on music production in the digital world.
Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum, Unesco’s representative to Namibia said the emerging creative and cultural industries need a strong system of legal support to help creative workers achieve their full potential, however, simply creating strategies, laws or policies is not enough; the process must begin with and reflect the concerns faced by the creative force.
He said: “The project is meant to assist Namibia in developing a measure to boost local content production and in revising copyrights legislation to adequately address the new challenges presented by the digital environment.”
Moussa-Elkadhum mentioned that Namibia recognises the potential of the creative and cultural industries to accelerate economic growth and social development through this project.
“To realise this vision, the country is committed to creating an environment where creative contents are protected and Namibian artists and cultural professionals are encouraged to create, produce and disseminate their works,” he opined.