Culture is increasingly prominent on the international agenda. But the discussion about whether and how culture contributes to combating poverty and sustainable development has far to go. Part four in a series about culture and development policy by donor countries.
France makes great efforts to protect and to promote the French speaking culture, and supports cultural diversity in general by starting with the most underprivileged countries . Therefore, France maintains about 200 French cultural institutes in developing countries, including offices of the Alliance Française.
France especially maintains strong ties with the Maghreb and French-speaking countries in Africa and other countries in Asia.
According to France, an important problem for African art is the lack of access to the world market. Thus the special cultural programme Afrique en Créations, which has been managed by the Association Française d’Action Artistique (AFAA) since 2000, stimulates mobility among African artists. This is done through exchange projects, fairs and artist-in-residence programmes. Every year Afrique en Créations spends € 4.7 million of its budget on bringing the arts sector in Africa to a more professional level and supporting international cultural events, such as the Rencontres de la Photographie in Bamako and the Biennale Dak’Art in Senegal.
The Fund Sud Cinéma has supported film production in the South for twenty years. A selection from these films is shown annually at the Cannes festival.
In addition, the French support a broad range of cultural activities in developing countries, including formulating cultural policy, protecting national legacies and intellectual property rights, creating a network of libraries and improving access to new information technologies. The French NGO Culture et Développement has existed since 1961. It was established by the movement d’éducation populaire, Peuple et Culture . Its objectives are to cooperate in the development of Africa, to integrate culture in educational, social and economic aspects of development in Africa and to cooperate with immigrant communities. It is connected to the AFAA.