28 janeiro, 2009

Fodéba Isto Keira - Interview

Publicado no site Development Gateway.

Interview with Fodéba Isto Keira, the President of Circul'A African Music Export Office (Bureau Export de la Musique Africaine or BEMA )

Text and Photograph courtesy Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, a division of UNESCO. UNESCO is a partner and cooperating organization with dgCommunity Culture and Development.

Isto is also the Director of the Guinean Performing Arts Agency, which is under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the head of Mass Production, the main cultural events management agency in Guinea. He co-produces the Djembé d'Or, a prize that awards African artists each year.

Q: Is the music sector considered to be a catalyst for development in Africa?
A: Music is undoubtedly a factor for economic development, particularly in West Africa. It is a source of job creation, not only on an artistic level through concerts, tours, festivals and albums, but also through the different professions that support artists, such as managers, technicians and stage managers.

Q: Do you think that Africa is an emerging market for the music industry?
A: Yes. The African music industry (with the exception of South Africa) is not structured as yet. Jobs come about in the informal sector, phonographic distribution is hampered by piracy, operators cannot easily access training and copyright legislation is limited. Having said this, private operators and institutions are becoming increasingly aware of these difficulties. In Senegal, for instance, the Interprofessional Coalition of Phonographic Producers and Publishers of Senegal (Coalition interprofessionnelle des producteurs et éditeurs phonographiques du Sénégal or CIPEPS) is carrying out important
work and a new law on copyright and neighbouring rights is being voted.

Q: Could you briefly explain how BEMA came about?
A: Since 2003, the Africa Fête team has been organizing professional meetings every year in Dakar just before the festival, bringing together actors from the music sector. BEMA was born out of these meetings initiated by the late Mamadou Konté. In 2005, we created an informal network called Circul'A and set up a follow-up committee in Paris, in collaboration with partners based in Europe. We then carried out a feasibility study, led by Mamadou, which enabled us to travel to Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Senegal
which, along with Côte d'Ivoire, became the priority countries for BEMA given their dynamic and relatively structured music sectors. BEMA was then officially set up in 2007 as a Senegalese association with a sub-regional office. BEMA was set up to address the needs of African cultural operators, especially in West Africa. In 2005 when we started the Circul'A network, we signed a charter stating that the network's aim was to help improve the professional mobility of its members and contribute to capacity-building in the African
music industry. These fundamental objectives were reproduced in the BEMA statutes.

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