The implementation of the project “Measuring the Economic Contributions of Zimbabwe’s Cultural Industries” by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency has taken off significantly. The project, which is financed by the International Fund
for Cultural Diversity of the Unesco Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, was launched at a stakeholders consultative workshop in Harare last month.
The consultative workshop attended by 49 people representing Government departments, public cultural institutions, arts and culture organisations, universities, donor agencies, the Culture Fund and ZimStats appointed a technical committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture; the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity; the Culture Fund; ZimStats; the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Management; the National Arts Council of
Zimbabwe; the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association and five arts and culture practitioners — Chris Timbe, Pathisa Nyathi, David Mungoshi and Dr N. Mberi.
In 2009 the Culture Fund commissioned a baseline study on the contribution of the culture sector to the national economy. The study “observed gaps in terms of the availability of statistical data for the arts and culture” and that data and information available was “poorly documented due to lack of a centralised information and knowledge management system”.
Also indicated by the baseline study was the need for further “studies that ensure inclusion of the voice of the consumer” as well as studies conducted at sub-sector level.
The main objectives of the “Measuring the Economic Contribution of Zimbabwe’s Cultural Industries Project are:
- To quantify the economic contribution of cultural industries in Harare and surrounding areas by estimating their value added to GDP, share of national employment and revenue generated from international trade;
- To analyse and elaborate on selected cultural industries of importance to Zimbabwe, their market structure, value chain, demand and supply patterns, labour market, policy framework, support for public and civil sector including the role of rights collection organisation and other copyright-related organisations and financing mechanism; and
- To propose policy, strategy and institutional interventions for encouraging the growth and development of cultural industries in Zimbabwe.
The stakeholders’ consultative workshop examined closely the cultural statistic survey questionnaire that was produced by ZimStats and indicated several amendments to the questionnaire.
The workshop also contributed names of organisations and individuals to the six domains of activities from which data is to be collected.
At its recent meeting, the technical committee considered the report of the stakeholders’ consultative workshop and recommended changes to the cultural statistic survey questionnaire.
The committee also considered and adopted the project implementation strategies which include the following:
- Raising awareness about the project within several Government departments where arts and culture resides and within arts and culture organisations;
- Identification, analysis and classification of cultural activities and industries that will be included in the survey;
- Development of the survey questionnaire and the instructional manual for the survey;
- Conducting literature review to determine sources and types of statistical data already in existence
- Data collection, processing, analysis, report writing and dissemination of findings
- Holding of stakeholders consultative workshops to review documentation and to refine tools for field research as well as to review research findings.
Although the cultural statistics survey will initially be conducted only in Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth, due to limited resources, stakeholders in the arts and culture sector in different parts of the country are free to comment on tools for field research adopted so far.
It has been stated that an electronic version of the cultural statistics survey questionnaire will soon be available for stakeholders’ review. The 68-point and 13-page questionnaire has five modules: general information; employment; education and training; finance; funding and market; and technology and constraints.
The electronic version of the questionnaire submitted to individuals and organisations identified and grouped into the six domains of activities would enhance the survey’s efficacy as the 20-minute researcher/respondent interview approach may not give responsible respondents enough time to gather vital information.
There will be cases where members of arts and culture enterprises or projects will require to sit down together to consider facts and figures required by the questionnaire especially on issues to do with the scope of activities, revenue generated, type of training obtained and challenges and constraints to viability.
The questionnaire requires revisiting especially in terms of the scope and categories of the cultural industries to be surveyed. An examination of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s classification of the creative economy is worth taking into consideration. Stakeholders wishing to secure copies of the questionnaire and project documents should approach the following websites: www.culturefund.org.zw and www.simstat.co.zw