The projects presented in this report demonstrate how different African countries are involved in culturally diplomatic initiatives. This is reflected in the variety of projects in which the different African states engage themselves. In the North African region for example, there is a strong focus on festival arrangements initiated by governments in collaboration with international partners. The East African countries, due to strong ties to donor countries and organizations, focus more on development, which is highly reflected in their cultural diplomacy projects. The projects in Southern Africa are more concerned with heritage, unifying the different cultural groups in order to create a socially coherent, and unified yet diversified region.
In fact in many of the countries, initiatives and projects are primarily focused on enhancing the cultural exchange between groups, as bridging ethnic divides can be a key contributor to regional stability. In Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana for example, an individual’s right to enjoy and develop his or her culture is safeguarded in these countries’ constitution. Other projects focus on gender and interreligious dialogue. Not all projects are solely intra-nationally oriented however; some have an outward focus and forge international exchange programmes between Africa, Europe and the USA.
Most national projects presented in this report are in partnership with other countries, private companies, donors, and non-governmental institutions. Few, if any projects are solely government funded. This is partly due to the lack of sufficient resources and revenue. This is unfortunate since one important aspect of investing in cultural diplomacy is that it generates revenue in the form of cultural tourism, as well as enhancing cultural understanding and social economic development.
Cultural diplomacy initiatives also face challenges through insufficient political commitments by African governments. Many projects end up being put on hold, or de-prioritized. Information about these projects to the public is also limited. As mentioned in the introduction, many of the smaller projects do not actively use the internet as an information propagation tool. It is therefore likely that a number of successful projects go unnoticed.
Although the projects mentioned in this report all collaborate with the public sector, there are large numbers of organizations working independently, without government help or intervention. This could both be seen as a helpful strategy, as government interests and agenda do not constrict these organizations; it could also be seen as a hindrance however, where involving governments could mean these projects would be implemented deeper within society, as government recognition and involvement can lead to policy change and wider impact on society than the initial scope of the project.