Arterial Network was born on Gorée Island in Senegal in March 2007, during a conference looking at the theme, “Vitalizing Africa’s Cultural Assets.” Arterial Network is a vibrant pan-African network of civil society that brings together artists, organizations and institutions involved in the African creative sector. Arterial Network celebrated its 10th anniversary in March 2017 in Abidjan.

Its creation was motivated by a desire among African cultural actors to take charge of the creative sector and effect change in the areas of good governance, access to information, strengthening of civil society, and equality – non-discrimination and inclusion.

The first Arterial Network conference was held in Johannesburg in September 2009 and saw the formation of the Continental Steering Committee. Mulenga Kapwepwe (Zambia) was named the first president of Arterial Network in 2009. In the years that followed, the network has been led by Korkor Amarteifio (Ghana, 2011 – 2013), Aadel Essaadani (Morocco, 2013 – 2015), Mamou Daffé (Mali, 2015 – 2017) and Daves Guzha (Zimbabwe, 2017-2019).

In 2009, the Arterial Network Continental Secretariat was established in Cape Town, South Africa. In February 2017, the office relocated to Abidjan, following the signing of an agreement with the Market for African Performing Arts (MASA) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Across the African continent and at international level, Arterial Network has acquired both recognition and credibility from diverse actors throughout the cultural and creative industries. Although the Network has de facto functional independence, it strives to acquire true autonomy and financial sustainability.


Since September 2011, Arterial Network has had the status of “NGO in operational relations with UNESCO” under the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. As a result, the network is engaged for advice and consultation on artistic, cultural and development issues.

The governing and decision-making body of Arterial Network is the Steering Committee, representing the five regions of Africa. The General Council allows for networking between the affiliate structures. It is also an occasion to discuss decisions made by the Steering Committee and provide the necessary strategic orientations for pressing issues.

At an organizational level, the Steering Committee directs a Continental Secretariat team to manage the network’s daily affairs. The role of the Secretariat, on the one hand, is to provide support and follow-up services to Affiliates through the organization’s five core focus areas, and to respond to requests for information from the public, civil society and various institutions; and on the other hand, to ensure the administrative, financial and technical management of the network.

Being a continental network, Arterial Network consists of Affiliates in 17 African countries that have their own steering and management bodies. The countries concerned are: Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Seychelles, Uganda, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique.

In terms of its finances, Arterial Network undergoes an annual financial audit by external international auditors to ensure the transparency of its accounts. In addition, the network has a Treasurer who ensures the ongoing financial health of the organization.