Writers & Directors Worldwide joined a prestigious roster of attendees in Algiers on the 14 and 15 September at the largest meeting of its kind ever held in Africa. After two days of discussion and with delegates from 18 African countries present, an unprecedented new relationship had been formed between international organisations and local authors societies to better protect and promote the work of African creators.
The event, titled “African Screenwriters, Writers and Music Creators from Here and Abroad” was organised, in conjunction with the Algerian government, by the International Confederation of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the Algerian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Office (ONDA), the Pan African Composers’ & Songwriters’ Alliance (PACSA), Writers & Directors Worldwide, and the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM). Crucially, a number of pan-African creator and copyright organisations were also in attendance including the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI).
Opening the meeting with the Algerian Minister of Culture, Azzedine Mihoubi, CISAC Director General Gadi Oron recognised and welcomed the efforts of the Algerian state in the field of copyright protection and the development of African culture. He also recognised and encouraged the continued efforts of ONDA in the organisation of training courses for staff from societies responsible for the collective management of authors’ rights in African countries and for having initiated these meetings.
There followed two full days of updates and discussion including a presentation on “The Audiovisual Campaign” from the Writers & Directors Worldwide President, Yves Nilly, and a break-out session with FEPACI General Secretary Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Regional Secretary of North Africa Abdenour Zahzah and Councelor Laza regarding the upcoming launch of the Pan African Alliance of Screenwriters and Directors.
The Algiers Declaration
At the close of the meeting, all the attendees undertook to coordinate and pool their efforts to meet and defend the rights of creators on the African continent. The group also issued “the Algiers Declaration”, a call on behalf of African creators that comprised four statements.
We call on African countries to make culture a vehicle for fellowship and solidarity between the continent’s people and a means to strengthen their identity by making creation and art, in all of its forms of expression, a driver of economic and social development and a tool to combat racism and extremism.
We invite African countries to continue their sustained actions and to promote their joint initiatives for the strengthening and consolidation of copyright and related rights in accordance with international conventions and good practices.
We call for closer cooperation between African and international bodies specialising in the protection of creators’ rights.
We agree and commit to the common priority objective of defending creators by addressing the transfer of value at legal and economic levels, through the implementation of a right to remuneration for audiovisual authors and by harmonising the term of protection of copyright and neighbouring rights.
This historic accord comes six months after Writers & Directors Worldwide participated in two panels at the 2017 FESPACO film festival in Burkina Faso. At the close of that event, the council officially signed an agreement with FEPACI that pledged to implement a framework of collaboration between the two organisations.
“The combined effort of all the organisations here at the Algeria meeting has helped us to come so far so quickly, and represents a momentous achievement on behalf of African creators. We hope that the Algiers Declaration will be the beginning of a new chapter where, through collaboration and partnership, the wealth of culture on this continent can further improve the lives of its authors and strengthen the economies of their communities and countries.”
Yves Nilly – Author and President of Writers & Directors Worldwide.