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Congolese Rumba on UNESCO's list: what is the economic impact?

People dancing to Rumba music at Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo.   -  
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Cédric Lyonnel SEHOSSOLO

Republic of the Congo

Last December, Congolese Rumba was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list sparking hopes for Democatric Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo where this musical genre is very important. Its economic impact was very much discussed at the first edition of the international Rumba festival organized by the French institue of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo in the presence of rumba actors from the two Congos and those from the diaspora.

_"A country that develops its culture is destined to develop tourism, attract curiosity and therefore develop an economy. Giving them the infrastructure and the necessary spaces to be able to showcase their talents can only bring economic added value to their countries at some point", said _Sylvie Mavoungou Bayonne, Managing Director of the French Institute in Pointe-Noire.

Rumba could play its part in the new economic models of the countries concerned, models based on the diversity of the economic fabric. However, some musicians have difficulty making a living from their art, accusing the poor distribution of copyright and the plundering of their works

_"We have a permanent major issue, which is copyright. Artists cannot make a living from their works, because the community channels, we'll say, the state channels do not pay the rights", commented _Faustin NSAKANDA, artistic director of musical group "Les Bantous de la capitale".

Revenues from the music industry in sub-Saharan Africa grew by about 9.6 per cent in 2021, according to the IFPI, the organisation that represents the recorded music industry worldwide

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