7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Culture, youth and entrepreneurship

Culture, youth and entrepreneurship

The role of culture in the economic development of the ACP countries and its contribution to the valorisation of young people

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 10:45 to 12:00

Key points

  • Thirty million people currently work in the cultural and creative industries globally.
  • Panellists highlighted a number of inspiring cultural projects involving young people in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
  • More support is needed for these projects so they can become sustainable.
  • New financing mechanisms for SMEs and creative start-ups are required.
  • The European Commission will look at simplifying access to funding.


Thirty million people currently work in the cultural and creative industries globally. These sectors offer a competitive advantage and can contribute to sustainable development. Culture is important for social cohesion. It is regarded as a soft tool that even in complex situations, can unite people and even countries.

The panel focused on how culture can boost economic development of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It highlighted a number of inspiring cultural projects involving young people across the region.

One such project is the Music Bridge, which ran from 2013 to 2014 and sought to bring together young artists from various ACP countries such as Mozambique and Malawi. The project included music camps for artists, established creative networks and offered practical training. Artists honed their craft by interacting with and learning from like-minded people. They also developed their communication skills and learned how to protect their copyright.

Based in Haiti, FOKAL is an organisation that promotes culture by running various projects aimed at young people. One example is LITTAFACAR, which promotes French-African literature. Its online platform is still going strong despite the project having finished in 2015. Other FOKAL projects focus on urban architecture, traditional games, photojournalism and film production.

Electric South is a virtual reality (VR) production company based in Cape Town, South Africa, which has discovered African artists active in VR. The company has curated a project known as African Futures, which has resulted in the production of various African VR films. With the continent’s enormous young population and cheap smartphones, there is a real opportunity for VR to shine across Africa.

Despite these excellent projects, more support is needed so these projects can become sustainable, allowing artists to earn a living from their work. However, access to financing is seen as a problem.

A potential solution could be to develop new financing mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and creative start-ups that currently have no hope of getting loans from traditional banks. The consensus was to put innovative funding schemes in place for artists.

The European Commission closed the session by telling participants that it would look at simplifying access to funding and work with the creative and cultural sector to provide solutions to the complex issues facing artists in ACP countries. 


Many people presume that culture is free – that you do not need to pay for it. This is a huge issue for artists and creators, who are not being fairly remunerated for their work. The public needs to change its mindset to counter this problem.

Organised by

    Perrine Ledan
    ACP Cultures +
    Leonardo Parraga
    EDD Young Leader, Colombia
    Elisabeth Pierre-Louis
    Federica Besana
    Communication Officer
    Ingrid Kopp
    Co-founder and co-director
    Electric South
    Léonard Emile Ognimba
    Assistant-Secretary General
    Secretary General ACP States
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017