SOU 35 - African Capital of Culture
PRESENTATION OF THE SESSION
"Culture is at the beginning and end of all development," said poet-president Leopold Sedar Senghor. From Marrakech to Maputo and Kampala, rapid urbanization is underway, full of promise and challenges. Cultures and the arts have always played a central role for the continent's societies and peoples. It is home to immeasurable cultural richness and diversity.
African Capitals of Culture are being created to give back to the continent's cultural and artistic expressions the place and role they deserve. Can we imagine sustainable and human urban development without reflection, debate and cultural visions? European development models have shown their limits and Africa is now facing an immense challenge: to invent its own solutions, in line with its realities or to continue to try to imitate the West in vain. It is to fully contribute to this challenge that the African Capitals of Culture project was conceived and will be launched in November 2018 in Marrakech during the Africities Summit.
As we know, the cultural sector contributes not only to the economic development of cities and states but also to social cohesion, well-being and individual identity. Established in 1985, the European Capitals of Culture have become flagship programmes for the local development and international influence of the designated cities. The African Capitals of Culture, while creating their own mechanism, have the ambition to play a similar role on a continental scale: to strengthen the contribution of culture to the development of cities, to stimulate and decompartmentalize endogenous reflections on sustainable urban and human development, to facilitate the circulation of artistic expressions, imagination, knowledge and skills across the continent.