AACC – Creative Cities


Culture plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of cities and territories and is an engine of sustainable human development and a source of creativity and innovation. It is also a catalyst for sustainability through its specific inputs that promote social equity, inclusive economic progress, environmental balance and sustainable local development.

With the extensive and growing urbanization in Africa the management of urban processes is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, the role of culture in terms of local development and as an agent of change in cities is also increasingly recognized

While resources’ allocation for culture at national level is often limited, cities are generally more supportive. Indeed, when the value of arts and culture is fully acknowledged alongside political and economic imperatives, cities and their citizens benefit directly from personal and social wellbeing within an inspirational environment; a sense of belonging with the pride of being a creative city; economic opportunities with the development of creative industries; as well as social cohesion with the arts promoting peace, and enhanced cultural tourism potential.

In addition to international programs focusing on the issue of cities such as UNESCO’s Creative Cities and UCLG-Culture, Arterial Network, in partnership with the Foundation Festival sur le Niger and the City of Ségou, launched the pilot project “Segou City Creative”, which was a success, with the support of its representative in Mali, Réseau Kya in the sidelines of the Festival sur le Niger in February 2014 in Ségou. In order to take a step forward for the continuity and expansion of the program, Arterial organized a preparatory workshop in Johannesburg on 1 and 2 December 2015 to undertake an analysis of the situation on the continent of cities and their creativity But also to develop a program that meets the needs of the sector.13 experts from 11 countries participated in the workshop.

So, a call for applications was launched in September 2016, and in addition to the pilot project of “Ségou Creative City of Arterial Network”, four (4) other cities namely Nouakchott (Mauritania), Pointe-Noire (Congo Brazzaville), Mahé (Seychelles) and Harare (Zimbabwe) were selected to be part of the Arterial Network Creative Cities Program for the 2017-2018 period.

Arterial Network begins a new phase of repositioning with the revitalization of the network and a better involvement and collaboration between its national chapters and affiliates.

It is with this view to turn art and culture into a vector and a pillar of local development that the Continental Cultural Network ” Arterial Network ” initiated this ”African creative cities ”program.

Vision: The programme’s vision is to have a network of cities that have a creative and vibrant cultural life, responsive to their citizens, accessible to all, while supporting human and economic development and diversity.

Mission: To achieve this vision, the mission of the programme is to facilitate cooperation and partnerships between local authorities and civil society, in a way that contributes to the development and implementation of arts and culture policies, strategies and programmes in African cities.

Main objective

The aim of the “Creative Cities” program is to provide each city with a cultural policy or a strategy for the development of culture through a network of creative cities of Arterial Network based on the cultural identities of City with pilot projects.

Specific objectives

The specific objectives are:

  • Creating a network of Arterial Network creative cities through a space for exchange and development between these cities;
  • Advocating for culture to be at the heart of Arterial Network’s creative city development programs;
  • Promoting the image of cities by supporting innovation, creativity and artistic and cultural competitiveness;
  • Promoting cultural diversity and social cohesion through pilot projects.
  • Facilitate people’s access to culture and culture.

Expected outcomes

  • A network of Arterial Network Creative Cities is created;
  • Capacity-building programs for cities are pooled for the benefit of cultural actors;
  • Advocacy for culture to be at the heart of Arterial Network’s creative city development programs is effective;
  • The quality of cultural expressions is improved and valued and the cultural identities of cities are promoted;
  • Culture is now at the heart of Sustainable Cities Programs;
  • The promotion of cultural diversity and social cohesion through pilot projects is made.
  • People’s access to art and culture is facilitated.

The actions planned under this program are:

  • Launch seminars in selected Arterial Network creative cities
  • Workshops to identify cultural identities of selected creative cities
  • Capacity building sessions
  • The Circuit Touring (Artist Exchange)
  • Advocacy actions in the city


Finally, local city co-ordination, local actors and authorities will propose pilot projects based on the selected key areas, which will be implemented in the framework of the Sustainable Cultural Development Program of the city.

Creative Cities Exchanges Circuit (CCEC)

Since 2018, a dynamic creative collaboration “Creative Cities Exchanges Circuit – CCEC” is operational and boosting exchanges between the cities of Ségou (Mali), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Mahé (Seychelles), and Pointe-Noire (Congo).

The Creative Cities Exchanges Circuit (CCEC) is a circuit of exchanges, sharing and creative collaborations (co-creation and co-production project) focused on practical work in the field, exchange of experiences and good practices. This involves advocacy for the formulation of cultural policies, capacity building of cultural actors through the various IKAMs and the touring circuit (exchanges of artists).

Created in November 2018 in Ségou, CCEC aims to intensify cultural exchanges and strengthen the creative sectors in the member cities of the circuit by providing them with adequate cultural policies while contributing to the promotion of democracy, human rights, to the decentralization of cultural life and cultural diversity.

Its mission is to facilitate cooperation and partnerships between local authorities and cultural actors so that they contribute to the development and implementation of adequate artistic and cultural policies, strategies and programs in the cities of the circuit.

The actions of the circuit are:

  • Support for the elaboration of cultural policies in member cities
  • Capacity building through the exchange of training programs of the various IKAMs (Korè Institutes of Arts and Professions)
  • Artist exchanges, Circuit Touring (cocreation, co-production)