CAIRO – 3 March 2021: Head of Culture Division at the African Union Commission (AUC) Angela Martins underlined Wednesday in Aswan Forum for Peace and Development that within designating 2021 the year of art and culture by the AU, initiatives are being launched to support creative economy.
The union is also working on heritage protection and promotion activities, including coordination with UNESCO to increase African heritage sites put on World Heritage List.
Martins also pointed out to the launching of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) this year.
Further, Assistant Director-General of the Africa Department of UNESCO Firmin Édouard Matoko highlighted that seven sites in Egypt are on the World Heritage List.
One of those is natural and that is Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley). The rest are cultural, and they are Abu Mena, Ancient Thebes, Historic Cairo, Memphis including Pyramids from Giza to Dahshour, Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae, and Saint Catherine Area, according to UNESCO website.
As the session where Matoko spoke is titled "Sustainable Peace and Development Through Arts, Culture and Heritage," the international official said, "until 10 years ago culture wasn’t perceived [in Africa] as a catalyst for development" hailing the care it is given now.
Given that culture is necessary to prevent conflict, UNICEF Representative in Mali Sylvie Fouet said that "the living together has collapsed in Mali since 2012 when violence broke out."
In the face of that crisis, Fouet clarified that UNICEF is backing efforts deployed to "mend social fabric" by supporting the work of Mali's Ministry of National Reconciliation and Social Cohesion whose mission is promoting the values of peace and tolerance.