The 33rd Session of the African Union Assembly held in February 2020 declared the year 2021 as AU Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage under the theme “**Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”**. The Assembly stressed the importance of Culture, Arts and Heritage in the achievement of the objectives of African Union Agenda 2063 as well as those of its Flagship Projects.

The culture and arts sector (referenced within the orange economy) contributes to sustainable development: both as enabler and driver. Workers and enterprises in the sector contribute to the social and economic development of their countries and the broader society, fostering youth employment, promoting innovation through the growth of small enterprises, and through entrepreneurship development. In 2020, ILO estimated that there were nearly 180 million people employed in the arts, recreation and entertainment, representing 5.4 per cent share of global employment;[1] among these, over 28 million were young people.[2]

In this regard, the African Union concept note on 2021 as AU year of Culture, Arts, and Heritage[3] has rightly recalled that the Culture and Arts contribute to the integration of societies, the socio-economic development in general and to poverty alleviation through job creation and social inclusion. The AU has included culture in all its major development blue prints, such as the Lagos Plan of Action 1980-2000 and the African Union Agenda 2063. The AU has also adopted various instruments pertaining to culture including, the Cultural Charter for Africa (1978), the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (2006), the Statute of the African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission (2019) and the AU Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property and Heritage (2018). To this list should be added the AU Algiers Plan of Action on Cultural and creative Industries (2008)[4] which contains a series of provisions aiming at achieving decent work in the sector.

Today a significant percentage of the workforce in Africa, earn their livelihood from the Culture and Arts Sector.[5] A 2014 study by Statistics South Africa reported that in South Africa, the culture sector employs 2.93 per cent of the workforce (about 444,000 people), more than the mining industry that is emblematic of the country[6]. UNESCO (2017) showed that the percentage of persons in cultural employment varies from 1 to 11 per cent, depending on the country; one fifth those employed in cultural occupations (20%) work part time and the gender difference is substantial with around 28% females compared to 18% men in part time culture sector jobs. They work primarily on a contractual, freelance and intermittent basis and their income continues to decline, fluctuate and remain uncertain. [7]

The ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Employment Relationships in the Media and Culture Sector held in Geneva, in May 2014 emphasized that the culture sector has always been characterized by a wide spectrum of employment relationships and of civil and commercial contracts relating to work. This spectrum includes traditional open-ended employment contracts, fixed-term contracts, project and contract work, self-employment and freelancing.[8] The forum made the following recommendations for future action by the International Labour Organization and its Members States, including promoting fundamental principles and rights at work (FPRW) and the analysing the employment-creation potential and addressing forms of unpaid labour in the media and culture sector.[9]

A 2019 ILO study on challenges and opportunities for decent work in the culture and media sectors[10] has shown that workers and employers in the culture sector need greater clarity and more information regarding the various employment regimes and their implications for taxation and social security, among others. The study also indicated that the lack of understanding of these issues is widespread. There also exist uncertainty and disparities in the situation of the self-employed persons as well as workers in new forms of employment, with regard to collective agreements, competition rules and adequate access to social protection. On this latter, a recent ILO study has analysed measures in the culture and creative sector to ensure the adequacy and the sustainability of such systems, taking into account particular employment circumstances in the sector, such as fluctuating employment status, irregular incomes, intermittent nature of work, and geographic mobility.[11]

The Global Youth Employment Forum 2019 held in Abuja in August 2019, highlighted that the orange economy was one of the sectors that offer important opportunities to absorb young workers. However, creative work does not fit in standard employment relationships, and is often characterised by precariousness and uncertainties. Issues concerning intellectual property rights (IPRs) must be addressed to clarify the status of creative workers as self-employed or employees. The report also highlighted that there were some common requirements for boosting decent jobs for youth in this sector, including supportive legislation and economic policies, financial incentives, appropriate education and training (including skills accreditation), and the promotion and protection of youth labour rights.

More than ever, the aforementioned issues are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects. In many African countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to declines in exports, economic slowdown and significant losses for the tourism and travel sector including culture and arts sector (closure of cultural establishments, such as local theatres, and museums. The COVID-19 pandemic is imposing heavy human, financial and economic costs to the culture sector in Africa and exacerbating some pre-existing decent work deficits in this sector, such as inadequate social protection coverage, poor working conditions, inadequate respect of labour laws, etc.

The increased application of digital technology to the arts and entertainment sector during COVID, and also before the pandemic, has the potential to foster creative entrepreneurship and small enterprises development. At the same time, increased resort to streaming or other types of technologies will further shift employment towards certain types of occupations, increasing the use of new business models, with implications on future skills required in the relevant sectors, as well as on fair remuneration.[12]

In light of the above and in order to better understand the magnitude of the decent work deficits in the culture and arts sector, the ILO Regional Office for Africa and the African Union Commission wish to engage the services of a consultant to conduct the following assignment. The study will examine the challenges and opportunities for promoting decent work in the culture and arts sector in Africa. The analysis should be placed in the context of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, 2019, the Abidjan Declaration, 2019, the global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient, 2021, the AU Social Protection Plan for Informal economy and Rural Workers (SPIREWORK), and the Revised AU Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (2008), The Statute of the African Audio-visual and Cinema Commission (2019). While looking at the sector holistically, both workers and enterprises, the study will pay particular attention to arts activities (dance, theatre, live music, opera, ballet, etc.), recorded music, visual arts (film, movies and artist painters, visual arts creators, photographers and designer), cultural heritage curators and guide tours.


General objective

The objective of the assignment is to provide better understanding of challenges and opportunities for promoting decent work in the culture, heritage and arts sector in Africa. Further, the work will provide specific entry points for a programme (including mainstreaming in existing programmes) that could help to improve labour relations, labour rights, entrepreneurship, skills development and employment prospects, social dialogue and representation, and adequate social protection in this sector based on International Labour Standards.

Specific objectives

i. Provide an overview of the trends shaping the future of work in the arts and culture (cultural and creative industries) sector in Africa (technology, globalization, demographics, COVID-19 etc.)

ii. Undertake a holistic analysis of the work challenges in the different areas/sub sector – and different categories of workers and enterprises – of culture and arts sector, particularly the decent work deficits which should be looked at through the four pillars of the decent work agenda and based on the trends above.

iii. Undertake a holistic analysis of the opportunities of promoting decent work in the different areas of – and different categories of workers and enterprises – cultural and creative industries sector in Africa, particularly harnessing the decent job creation potential and based on the trends above.

iv. Analyse policy options to harness the potential for a future of work in the sector, based on the key objectives enshrined in the >decent work agenda.

v. Identify key entry points for a time-bound programme contributing to leverage opportunities and addressing the decent work deficits in the sector.


The consultant will:

a) Review existing literature, documentation, reports to identify different categories of workers and businesses in the culture and arts sector and their employment and working conditions;

b) Assess and identify decent work challenges for men and women including young people within the sector;

c) Produce five country case studies: from Southern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern and Western Africa and focussing on one specific sector (for example music industry in South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, movie industry in Nigeria and cultural heritage in Kenya).

d) Make recommendations towards ILO Africa and the African Union Commission for more promising actions in support of the sector. These recommendations should be in line with the AU relevant policy frameworks namely the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, the Statute of the African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission and the AU Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries, the Abidjan Declaration and the Global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

e) Develop a concept note for a programme/project to identify and leverage opportunities and addressing the decent work deficits in the sector of arts and culture in Africa. This should be related to the ILO mandate and the AU Agenda 2063.


The following deliverables are expected:

  1. Inception Report which should be submitted for review within 10 days of commencing the contract. The inception report will include: (i) background; (ii) aims and rationale for review; (iii) conceptual and definitional issues; (iv) objectives of the study; (v) conceptual framework; (vi) methods for identifying and briefly describing the workers in the culture and arts sector and identifying the decent work related issues; (vii) outline of the main report; (viii) tentative list/category of actors of the culture and arts sector to be interviewed; and (ix) a timeline of the consultancy. The report should be written in English and is subjected to approval before moving to the next phase.
  2. Draft assessment report on challenges and opportunities for promoting decent work in the arts and culture sector in Africa including the case studies. The draft report should also include summary and recommendations for further work in this field.
  3. Final report in English with clear and operational recommendations, including an executive summary (both in English and French), which take into account comments made by different stakeholders.
  4. Concept note for an intervention in the sector.

It is required that the consultant pay particular attention to gender issues, and integrate them throughout its thinking process.


The consultant will be responsible to develop and propose its own methodology to carry out the tasks described above. However, this should include:

  1. Review of AU policy frameworks addressing the issues of decent wok in the cultural and creative industries, the informal economy
  2. Review of ILO conventions on working conditions, existing ILO reports on the sector of culture of arts;
  3. Desk research;
  4. Convene virtual meetings with selected specialists and ILO and AU officials;
  5. Convene virtual meetings with selected representative of Governments, Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations, as well as National Arts Councils including copyright offices;
  6. Convene a virtual meeting with other relevant UN agencies such as UNESCO;
  7. Interviews and focus group discussions with selected workers and enterprises of the culture and arts sector in selected countries;
  8. Provide regular updates on advancement and findings of the assignment to the ILO and AUC focal points in charge of the study;
  9. Maintain on-going interaction with the ILO and AUC focal points throughout the study in order to ensure that the deliverables are developed under the ILO and AUC expectations.
  10. The recommendations should be in line with the four interrelated and mutually supportive strategic objectives of the Decent Work Agenda and directed to ILO and AUC. These should be actionable and indicate the level of resources required, the timing (short, medium and long term) and the level of priority to consider (low, medium and high).


The review will be undertaken between August and November 2021. The tentative duration for this study is 54 work days



The consultant will be under the supervision of the ILO/AUC focal points for the study. She/he will participate in periodical briefing calls/meetings with the ILO and AUC. The ILO/AUC focal points will provide guidance and required support and clarifications throughout the process to the consultant. They are the main interlocutors between the consultant and the Office, to ensure a smooth implementation of the assignment.


The suitable consultant or team of consultants (2) should:

i. Have a University Degree at least at Masters Level with relevant work experience in social sciences, economics, law or education.

ii. Have a minimum of 5 years of professional work experience in the areas of culture and heritage, socio-economic studies, research in the area of employment/working conditions, and education.

iii. Proven experience in conducting/implementing at least 1 study/project related to working conditions/employment or social protection in the area of culture and arts.

iv. Clear understanding of African development challenges, especially in the selected sectors

v. Previous work with ILO and/or UN is an advantage.

vi. Key understanding of youth employment, social protection, gender equality and non-discrimination issues, and labour market issues; including relevant contextual knowledge in Africa at field and policy level will be an asset.

vii. Excellent analytical and communication skills are essential.

viii. Excellent writing skills in and oral command of English or French. Knowledge of both languages would be an asset.


The selection will be based on a Call for expression of interest. The applicants should present:

i) A short proposal that explains the understanding of the assignment and explaining why he/she is most suitable for the assignment, including past experience in similar assignments, providing a brief information on qualifications, and brief methodology on how he/she will approach and conduct the work.

ii) Duly updated CV with at least 3 references;

iii) The proposed daily rate in US dollars, specifying a total requested amount per working day, including all related costs ( for communication);

iv) Copy of at least one relevant documents produced by the applicant(s) on the topic.

The selection of consultants will be based on the quality of the technical proposal, experience of the consultant and financial proposal as the three main factors.

The respective weight of the proposals are as follows:

  1. Technical Criteria : 70%
  2. Financial Criteria : 30%

More information can be found on–fr/index.htm

How to apply

Expression of interest should be forwarded to the ILO Regional Office for Africa (, cc:, no later than 6 August 2021 (5:00pm, Abidjan time).

The application should comprise :

a) A short technical proposal;

b) CV highlighting experience with evidence of study in the sector;

c) Three references of clients of the consultants and their contact details;

d) A least one supporting publications referring to the sector;

e) A financial proposal and breakdown of costs.

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