Sustainable Development of Culture Industries in Developing Countries was the theme of one of the workshops of the Meeting on Cultural Diversity at the Québec Book Fair on April 16 and 17, 2004. The purpose of this workshop was notably to study how multilateral bodies and developing countries may adapt their contribution in favour of the Southern countries in matters of culture industries development. It must be specified that the conclusions to this Meeting are still very relevant to this day.
In this respect, the intervention of Mrs. Roxane Girard, General Manager for Financing at the Québec's Société de développement des industries culturelles (SODEC), had to do with cooperation between SODEC and the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF) aimed at the implementation of the Guarantee Fund for Culture Industries (FGIC) having as an objective to set up a tool contributing access to bank mode financing for the culture enterprises and bodies of six African countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast) where cultural entrepreneurship represented a satisfactory critical mass.
The stakes were as follows: interest the States, notably African, to culture industries as an economic development potential; assist the creation of culture enterprises in the Southern countries; open out the market and increase its self-sufficiency in a context where African culture productions do not move around sufficiently, and where exchanges between the Southern countries are limited.
Out of the observations drawn from the implementation of this FGIC in Africa, Mrs. Girard makes several remarks, namely that : the scarcity of State intervention in the field of culture creates difficult conditions for the creation of culture enterprises and endangers their survival; the informal economy, in which numerous enterprises operate, keeps them almost totally marginal; the weakness of the domestic market for culture products endangers the capacity to remunerate properly the culture entrepreneurs, combined to the chronic difficulty for those entrepreneurs to export their culture goods and services even to their neighbour countries; the growing counterfeiting phenomenon encumbers not only an already weak market but one that operates within informal economy; the intervention of the Northern countries, traditionally oriented towards projects implementation, did not necessarily encourage the creation of culture enterprises; a democratization of culture cannot exist when culture goods circulation is being controlled by a limited number of enterprises from developed countries.
Mrs. Girard concludes that in spite of all those encountered problems, one should not wait upon all conditions being met before going ahead with the initial gesture leading to a lasting development. As a consequence, in order to contribute to the sustainable development of culture industries in developing countries, the Northern countries should : encourage States to establish policies fostering the creation of culture enterprises; set up measures that will stimulate entrepreneurship; open up Northern markets to culture productions of the Southern countries by creating reception structures within the disseminating networks of the North for all productions (shows, cinema, books, discs, arts and crafts).