- Says Cinematography Act is under review
- A National Arts Council to be established
Botswana’s creative industries account for 5.46% of the country’s GDP, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Development said in Parliament recently.
Presenting his budget estimates for 2020/21, Minister Tumiso Rakgare acknowledged that statisticians all along failed to factor in the contribution of the sector to the GDP. The Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis had finally done so, even though the creative industry was constantly contributing to the economy.
“Cultural and creative industries have emerged as major contributors to the economies of nations by providing job opportunities and contributing to (the) GDP,” Rakgare said. Clearly we could do better with improved regulation and increased investment.”
In the ministry’s quest to cultivate the ground for a thriving and vibrant creative sector, Rakgare said the cabinet had approved establishment of a National Arts Council and that the Attorney Generals Chambers was currently drafting the relevant bill for tabling in Parliament before the end of the year. His ministry was also reviewing the Cinematography Act of 1970 to establish appropriate structures for regulation and development of the film industry.
Rakgare commended the annual President’s Day Competitions that are held across the country promoting and preserving Botswana’s culture. For this reporting season, 14 813 people participated in the programme and a total of P14 853 465. 87 was disbursed as prize money, said the minister.
The Constituency Art Competitions programme that is aimed at unearthing artistic talent keeps participants engaged and promotes and preserves cultural heritage in all constituencies of the country. A total of P 7 448 633.61 was used in prize money and operational costs.
“The ministry also administers a small Arts and Culture Grant that aims to provide financial assistance to artists,” Rakgare said. “In the 2019/2020 financial year, 62 applicants were assisted with a total of P5 434 164. 80 to implement, among others, cultural festivals, cultural exchange and capacity building programmes.”
Creatives had also benefited from a fund set up by government to cater for procurement of arts and culture products and services. During the 2019/2020 financial year, P7 386 331.24 was spent on the procurement of local arts and crafts to enable artists to realise an economic gain from their works. The ministry also promotes cultural exchange programmes through which 86 Batswana artists had participated in cultural tourism activities at a total cost of P1 106 057. 75.
Minister Rakgare said his ministry also operates a youth television channel, NOW TV, that helps develop the film and television industry while providing entertainment and education to young Batswana. During this financial year, the channel procured content valued at P40 872 178. 37 from 49 local producers, mostly youth. The channel is available online and access to the online platform stands at 6 728.
The allocated recurrent budget for the current financial year is about P947 million, 83% of which had been expended as at 6 March 2020. The development budget was P 43.2 million, 16.8% had been expended.