Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Faustina Caley, has indicated that the lack of data on the local arts and culture sector makes it difficult to develop initiatives to support the sector.
Speaking at a public discussion on social protection for artists and cultural professionals in Windhoek on Tuesday, Caley said an economic stimulus and relief package of N.dollars 8 billion was introduced by the government to mitigate the economic conditions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there were interventions for numerous sectors, the relief package “did not clearly provide how they supported the cultural and creative industries and its practitioners” and it can be deducted that many creative businesses did not benefit from the stimulus package.
The deputy minister said according to Unesco, cultural and creative industries contribute US.dollars 2.25 trillion to the global economy and generate 30 million jobs worldwide.
“In Namibia, limited statistics exist to show the employment levels in both the formal and informal markets, income levels and the contribution of employees to household income, in both urban and rural areas. The decline in profit levels and the impact of the sustainability of wages are circumstances that required a response that could have cushioned the terrible impact on artists and cultural practitioners and their businesses,” she said.
She noted that to circumvent the issue of lack of data, the ministry is working to ensure the continued capturing of data going forward.
“This will include the establishing of a formalised Integrated Information Management System for the arts, culture and heritage sector… to provide for continuous data collection and record on the sector, so as to enable us to identify gaps and create appropriate initiatives to support the growth of the sector and be enabled to measure its contribution to the larger Namibian economy,” she said.
The discussion was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and amongst others discussed the status of social protection for artists and cultural professionals in Namibia, the gaps and responses in the provision thereof and artistic freedom in Namibia.