Culture plays key role in attaining Vision 2030

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, 

The Government is working on remodelling its programming to incorporate culture as a driving force towards the attainment of Vision 2030, which is tied to the global sustainable development goals (SDGs) agenda.

This emerged during the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) launch of the thematic indicators for culture in the 2030 Agenda in Bulawayo yesterday.

Director of Arts and Culture in the Ministry of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Dr Biggie Samwanda, said for a long time culture had been sidelined yet is it an enabling force towards development. Thematic indicators for culture in the 2030 Agenda offer a conceptual framework to measure and monitor the progress of culture’s enabling contribution to the national and local implementation of the goals and targets of the 2030 agenda.

The framework assesses both culture’s role as a sector of activity, as well as the contribution  of culture across  different   SDG s and policy areas. The  City   of  Bulawayo in July 2023 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Unesco committing towards cultural data collection and analysis, which will enable it to measure and monitor the contributions of culture towards the implementation of Vision 2030 and SDGs in Zimbabwe.

Dr Samwanda said insufficiency of quantitative evidence, as well as the fragmentation of culture-related data, which is produced by different institutions, have tended to marginalise culture in national and local development strategies and policies. 

“As it stands, there’s a general lack of statistical information on what culture is contributing to the nation. When we get that data after the survey it will assist in our planning and it talks to the SDGs that the Government is trying to fulfil as a state pattern of Unesco, and in that process, we are attaining Vision 2030 and even beyond,” said Dr Samwanda. 

“Once we get this data as our policy-making tool, the planning, the allocation of resources to where they are needed whether it’s the infrastructure, statistical travel, whether it’s for creative work, will improve. 

“So, as a Government, it means we will be able to plan for the culture sector, for tourism, for sports tourism, for film, for fashion, for theatre, for infrastructure that’s needed by our creatives, for international co-operation, for festivals and exhibitions.” 

Unesco regional director for southern Africa Ms Nisha said Culture 2030 indicators will play a major role in ensuring that Zimbabwe achieves development goals. 

 “So, this initiative is to bring to focus what culture is, what heritage is and what are the returns in terms of helping the country achieve its development goals. Culture is not highlighted often in development programmes in development policy and planning, it’s taken for granted and there is no data because they are taken for granted because data doesn’t exist and nobody talks about it,” said Ms Nisha. 

“We will also interrogate what percentage of the current budget, for example, is going towards promoting cultural and creative industries. We also need to look at the returns from those investments, for example how culture contributes to tourism revenue, employment creation etc.”

In her speech, Bulawayo Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Judith Ncube, said the survey will help the city and Zimbabwe at large to begin the process of quantifying the contribution of rich culture and heritage. 

“I am excited that Bulawayo was chosen for this exercise and this is a testament to the strides the city has made in the development and promotion of the arts, a creative sector and preservation of its heritage,” she said. 

“There are several benefits that are anticipated to be derived after this exercise and these include preserving the local culture and heritage, strengthening communities, commercialisation of culture and art, revitalisation of the creative arts sectors, and the preservation of heritage. 

“This will help the city and the country to build and quantify cultural capital, promote the preservation of local traditions, customs and culture, and build a coherent and strong narrative on culture and development that is evidence-based.”

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