Cosoma, Norway sign K260 million pact

Norwegian government on Thursday signed a three-year funding agreement with Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) to the tune of 5.9 million Norwegian Kroner (about  K260 million at current exchange rate).

The funding under Cultural Support Scheme (CSS) is expected to benefit art associations affiliated to Cosoma, which include National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM), Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM), Visual Arts Association of Malawi (VAAM), Malawi Writers Union(MAWU), Music Association of Malawi (MAM), Journalist Union of Malawi (JUMA) and Photographers Association of Malawi (PHOTAMA).

The agreement was signed by Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Daniel Liwimbi and Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Asbjorn Eidhammer at Cosoma’s new offices in Claim building in Blantyre.

Eidhammer and Liwimbi after signing the pact. Photo Maurice Nkahiwe/Nyasa Times

Among other activities, the funding is expected to promote and strengthen the capacity of the arts associations to manage their organizations better and more efficiently.

It is also expected to cover the operation costs for Arts House where the associations occupy, the Peer Gynt Award competition for fictions writers, preservation of traditional Malawian music through digitizing of music recorded by MBC through decades and facilitate possible exchange progamme between Malawi and Norway, building on traditional music.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Liwimbi said the pact will help promote arts and culture in the country.

“There is a need to improve on our art works and this funding is one way of achieving that. There are a lot of artistic skills and works that need to be recognized and promoted,” he said.

“ As government we appreciate the Norwegian government is doing in helping our arts, tourism and culture sector,” Liwimbi said.

Eidhammer assured the arts association that his government will continue to support the arts, tourism and culture sector, and urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the funding.

“We can’t be here forever, there is therefore need for the associations to use the money in improving their capacity and work which in turn will be able to support the economic growth of the country and as well as make them able to finance themselves,” said Eidhammer.

Norway has been supporting arts associations for the past three years, and the new agreements extend the support to 2015.

It has since 2000 been supporting Malawi’s cultural sector. The support has been mainly channelled through government and through civil society organizations which include Nanzikambe Arts, Mua Mission KunGoni Arts centre and Cosoma.

So far the Norwegian government has invested in Malawi through cultural support 32 million Norwegian Kroner or between five to six million US dollars.

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