Burkina Faso: Cultural Diplomacy Projects

Burkina Faso: Cultural Diplomacy Projects


Project Details

  • Country:        Burkina Faso
  • Telephone:   +226 356 005 / +226 644 674 / +226 340 707
  • Email:             jazz_ouaga@yahoo.fr
  • Website:                           http//jazz.zcp.bf
  • Sponsored by: The Burkinabe Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication

Organisation Description

The Jazz in Ouaga Association was founded in 1992 by a group of jazz enthusiasts, and its events are organised in partnership with, among others, the Burkinabe Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication. The association aims to promote jazz culture, a musical genre with strong African origins. To this end, the Jazz in Ouga Association holds of a yearly festival in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou (from where it derives part of its name,) as well as touring the region.

Project Description

The Jazz in Ouaga festival is a culturally diplomatic event, which aims to bring the people of Burkina Faso together through music. In 2005 the festival strove to highlight the topic of unity through its theme, “Jazz and World Music: Ways of Integrating People.” The project is currently becoming more regional in nature, but has been centred in Ouagadougou on account of the city’s musical resources and its wealth of expertise. Once decentralized, Jazz Ouaga will provide a ‘framework of expression’ for artists to perform at a local level, whilst assisting local authorities in their development of cultural policies.

Aims of the Project

–          To hold an annual jazz festival to promote jazz and world music;

–          To increase the culture of jazz among the Burkinabe public through the undertaking of conferences, exhibitions and video sessions;

–          To contribute to the training of musicians in Burkina Faso through the promotion of musical diversity.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

Jazz in Ouaga encourages central and local authorities to develop cultural policy by providing them with a vehicle for musical expression. The success of the initiative has resulted in its spreading to other cities such as Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya Koudougou, Dano and Gaoua.


Project Details

  • Country:        Burkina Faso
  • Telephone:   +226 508 370 / +226 503 083 71
  • Email:             sg@fespaco.bf
  • Website:        www.fespaco.bf
  • Sponsored by: The Government of Burkina Faso

Organisation Description

The Pan-African Film and Television Festival was founded in 1969 by, among others, former cultural minister of Burkina Faso, Alimata Salambere, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). Today, the event has evolved into an internationally recognized and respected event, not only on the African continent but also the world at large. FESPACO became an institution by governmental decree on January 7th, 1972 and is now a public competition held under the patronage of Burkina Faso’s Minister of Culture, Tourism and Communication, Filippe Savadogo. Its main award is the “Étalon de Yennenga” (Stallion of Yennenga), named with reference to the legendary founder of the Mossi empire, the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso. Up to this date, Burkina Faso has contributed to the event through a 500,000 FCFA investment, complete with security, location, logistics, ceremony and staff management. Overall, the Burkina Faso government provides 65-70% of the festival organisation.

Project Description

The festival is the biggest regular cultural event on the African continent, and starts two weeks after the last Saturday of February with the opening night in the national stadium,  Stade du 4-Août. The festival is for African film industry professionals, offering them the chance to establish working relationships, exchange ideas and to promote their work. Since FESPACO’s founding, the festival has attracted visitors from across the continent and beyond, with the aim to “contribute to the expansion and development of African cinema as means of expression, education and awareness-raising.”

Aims of the Project

–          To enable contacts and exchange between film and audiovisual professionals of Africa;

–          To contribute to the expansion and development of African cinema as a means of expression, education and awareness-raising;

–          To promote non-profit screenings in rural areas, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations or associations in schools and other public or private institutions.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

FESPACO has partnered with several institutions such as UNICEF, to create a framework for child-related issues. In its objective to work closely with African film heritage, the partners are also considering a stronger partnership with the first film industry umbrella organisation in Africa, Nollywood. Such an association has significant potential to bridge cultures and promote pan-Africanism.


Project Details

  • Country:        Burkina Faso
  • Telephone:   +226 503 732 56
  • Email:                         sgp@siao.bf
  • Website:        www.siao.bf
  • Sponsored by: The National Board of Foreign Trade (ONAC) and the Chamber of Commerce of Burkina Faso

Organisation Description

The International Arts and Crafts Show of Ouagadougou is organised by the National Board of Foreign Trade (ONAC) and the Chamber of Commerce of Burkina Faso to help increase the activities of craftsmen and enable them to establish business contacts. Since 1989, Burkina Faso has been striving to offer Africa a channel to improve the knowledge and artistry of its craftsmen. SIAO can act as a springboard for artisans who wish to distribute their products on both the local and international market.

Project Description

Over the years, SIAO has established itself as a veritable showcase of African crafts. Since its inception the trade show has improved its services for professional visitors; conferences, workshops, and specialized exhibitions are set up in order to allow for easy interaction between craftsmen and buyers. Among the major products displayed during each SIAO are the Calabash art products, jewelry products, bronze and iron products, textiles and apparel, musical instruments, toys, leather products, furniture, painting and batiks, pottery, ceramics and recycled crafts, as well as stone and wood sculpture.

Aims of the Project

–          To provide a forum for the sale of African handicrafts;

–          To create and expand craftsmen’s own reference framework through training and education;

–          To promote cultural heritage value;

–          To contribute to the economic, social and cultural balance of Burkina Faso through the

promotion of handicrafts.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The SIAO notes how the International Art and Craft Fair of Ouagadougou an easy way to disseminate and expand African handicraft as a means of expression and culture. Furthermore, working as a vehicle for artisans to promote their products on a local as well as an international market, the SIAO contributes to cultural exchange within Burkina Faso and beyond.


Project Details

  • Country:        Burkina Faso
  • Telephone:   +226 209 727 79
  • Email:            Not listed
  • Website:        http://www.snc.gov.bf/index.htm
  • Sponsored by: The Burkina Faso Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication

Organisation Description

The National Cultural Week is organised by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication. The event brings together artists and performers representing many different areas of art and expertise from around the country. The National Week of Culture was founded in 1983, and was originally intended to take place annually, but due to financial constraints now takes place every two years.

Project Description

The National Culture Week of Burkina Faso, or La Semaine Nationale de la Culture (SNC), takes place every two years in Bobo Dioulasso, the second-largest city in the country. The event promotes Burkinabé culture, and activities include musical and dance performances as well as literary, culinary and sporting competitions.

Aims of the Project

–          To allow for the meeting of all Burkinabe ethnic groups;

–          To promote Burkinabe cultural and artistic activities;

–          To foster social integration for other nationalities living in the country, by creating a common forum;

–          To reinforce inter-African and international cooperation;

–          Placing culture at the heart of development issues.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

Burkina Faso has sixty different cultural communities. Thus, facilitating exchanges and dialogue between these communities is necessary for maintaining peaceful unity in such a diverse nation. The SNC provides a framework through which these communities can unite in one place and have immediate contact with people and other cultural traditions that otherwise would not be so accessible.


Project Details

  • Country:        Burkina Faso
  • Telephone:   None listed
  • Email:            None listed
  • Website:        www.tourdufaso.bf
  • Sponsored by: The Amaury Sports Organisation, the Burkina Ministry for Sports, and the Burkina Cycling Federation

Organisation Description

Since its launch in October 1987, the Tour du Faso has become the most important cycling race on the African continent. The race is organised by the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO, also responsible for organizing the Tour de France), the Burkina Ministry for Sports and the Burkina Cycling Federation. Since 2001, ASO has been committed to the Tour du Faso, by providing know-how, equipment and personnel for the implementation of this major event.

Project Description

Since its inception, the race has expanded to a point where it is now state-wide, leading the riders on a 1300km, ten stage route through Burkina Faso. Competitors comprise nine teams from Africa and five from Europe, with the race being based on the Tour du France model. However, due to its special conditions, the Tour du Faso is far more than just a copy of the original European; from 1987 to 1998 it was reserved purely for amateurs, and since 2005, it has been organised as an event on the UCI Africa Tour.

Aims of the Project

–          To bring together African and European cyclists in competition;

–          To share knowledge between the A.S.O. and the Burkinabe organizers;

–          To promote high-quality competition, that honours the values embedded in sports ethics, which will stand the test of time.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

It is certain that the organisation of the Tour du Faso plays a part in the promotion of cycling (and development in general) as a sport in both Burkina Faso and the whole African continent. The event draws worldwide attention, creating a positive atmosphere in Burkina Faso, as well as bringing foreign aid and increasing investment. It also attracts national and international companies that wish to associate themselves with the competition.



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