12 African cities vying for the most culturally vibrant on the continent

28 April 2023: Nairobi, Kenya – Johannesburg is the most culturally vibrant city in Africa, according to the Creative Vibrancy Index for Africa (CVIA), which ranks how 12 African cities support and enable the arts, culture, and creative industries.

The index provides a comprehensive overview of the environment for artists and creative entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Dakar, Nairobi, Tunis, Marrakech, Luanda, Accra, Cairo, Lagos, Harare and Dar-Es-Salam.

The cities were ranked based on availability and access to cultural venues and facilities, cultural policies that support the arts, and the citiesโ€™ capacity to promote culture. Johannesburg has the highest overall ranking score for creating the most enabling environment for creativity, followed by Cairo and Lagos. Meanwhile, Marrakech, Tunis and Kinshasa are the least enabling cities.

The CVIA aims to inspire growth in the sector by highlighting the landscape of support for arts, culture and creative industries and the sectorsโ€™ capacity for job creation, community cohesion, and youth engagement.ย 

The index provides much-needed data for investors, funders, creative entrepreneurs, and other sector stakeholders by offering valuable insights into the gaps in the creative and cultural landscape. In this regard, the index serves as a tool for decision-making by stakeholders in the creative and cultural industries. Future updates to the index will include additional cities and track changes in the cities already mapped.ย 

The CVIA is funded by the narrative change organisation, Africa No Filter, and the British Council. In addition, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and the World Cities of Culture Forum are part of the projectโ€™s advisory board, providing technical input.ย 

Moky Makura, Executive Director of Africa No Filter, said: โ€œThe availability and access to arts, culture and creativity is increasingly the mark of a successful city and developed economy. For us at Africa No Filter, it is also a measure of the support and infrastructure provided to African storytellers to enable them to share their stories, grow audiences and build their sustainability as artists.ย We were keen to understand how culturally vibrant the African creative sector is so we know if African stories are being heard. This index will shine a much-needed spotlight on the state of the creative landscape in Africa and help us all advocate for more support for storytellers on the continent. We have started with just 12 cities, but our aim is to do this across all major cities on the continent.โ€

Sandra Chege, Head of Arts Kenya, said: โ€œWe are excited to collaborate with Africa No Filter and the Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB to develop this important index. We look forward to engaging in the conversations and insight generated through this project on how cultural actors can strengthen the cultural infrastructure of cities across Africa to create a more enabling environment for creative and cultural practitioners.โ€ 

Ojoma Ochai, Managing Partner of the Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB, said: โ€œThe ranking of cities is not the main value add. What is more important is the use of the comparative measurement to showcasing good practice, inspire dialogue and stimulate more support for the sector.โ€

For more information on the CVIA, please visit (creativevibrancyindex.africa)

Inquiries: Lerato@africanofilter.org

About Africa No Filter

Africa No Filter is a donor collaborative working to shift stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa through research, grant-making, community building and advocacy. Our goal over time is to build the field of narrative changemakers who are deliberate about representing Africa beyond stereotypes. Weโ€™re funded by Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation.

About Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture is a pan-Arab funding organisation dedicated to supporting artists and cultural initiatives in the Arab world. They aim to support the growth of a vibrant and inclusive cultural landscape in the region.

About British Council

The British Council is the UKโ€™s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They work in over 100 countries to build trust and create opportunities between people in the UK and other countries.

About Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB

The Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB delivers research, ecosystem development, investment readiness, investor education, advocacy and capability development projects that enhance opportunities for creative expression, job and wealth creation in the African Creative Economy.

About World Cities of Culture Forum

The World Cities of Culture Forum is a platform for cities to exchange best practices and ideas for cultural development and promotion. They aim to provide a space for cities to connect and collaborate on cultural initiatives and initiatives related to creativity and the arts.