Culture and communication are two elements of a single ministry that is pursuing a strategy of supporting the arts and building national pride.
The Ministry of Culture and Communication is responsible for Posts and Telecommunications as well as implementing the Head of State’s strategic objectives and government policies for promoting the country’s cultural identity. The culture portfolio focuses on the arts, crafts, artisans and the creative industries that serve to promote Djibouti. The main development over the next five years is to increase telecoms penetration and expand the infrastructure throughout the whole territory.
Other objectives include the strengthening of the Regional Telecommunications Hub of Djibouti, the democratisation of access and use of ITC at the national level, and the fight against the digital divide.
Working within the Ministry, the Directorate of Posts and Telecommunications is undertaking a reassessment of policy pertaining to the ICT sector. It wants to enhance progress, define new objectives, develop an adequate strategy to achieve these goals, and formalise the action plan for an efficient implementation.
Djibouti is one of the beneficiaries of the African Virtual University/African Development Bank/Nepad joint programme that initiated a teacher education programme six years ago. The programme revolves around the use of ICTs both in and across the curriculum, with a particular focus on mathematics and science education.
The use of ICTs across the teaching curriculum will greatly contribute to improving the quality and increase the number of teachers through flexible, affordable delivery using open, distance, and e-learning systems.
Furthermore, USAID’s Djibouti Assistance to Education Project (also known in French as Assistance Internationale pour le Développement de l’Education), is a three-year effort that was started in 2010 to improve student learning. The objective will be pursued through three separate but interlocking sets of interventions linked directly to the three intermediate results of increased access to basic education, improved quality of teaching and learning, and increased opportunities for girls’ education. The SchoolNet and Cisco Academy initiatives fall under this project.
Through this project USAID donated computers, printers and UPS’s to four schools in rural Djibouti. Djibouti Telecom, a partner in the project and the national telecommunications service provider, deployed local area networks and provided internet connectivity to four schools.
The Education Ministry has made capacity-building a priority for teachers in the use of ICT through the National Education and ICT project and the automation of the Education Ministry itself. At the secondary school level some schools, through donors and NGOs, have managed to equip computer labs and establish connectivity provided by the country’s telecom company, Djibouti Telecom.
Celebrating the country’s pride, and recognising the individual contributors who act as Djibouti’s cultural ambassadors, not only presents a positive statement to the outside world but reaffirms a strong sense of inclusiveness within the country amongst the general public, of belonging within a region and identifying with the city and its rich history.
This strategy maintains the twin values of the quality of life enjoyed by Djiboutians and a rich cultural environment. The creative industries also serve as an invaluable complement to Djibouti’s growing tourism attractions.
Government is determined to serve its citizens by providing adequate opportunities for the public to have access to cultural events and does what it can to support the artists, actors, writers, poets and all the professionals that work in this field.
It is considered absolutely essential to promote sustainable development that recognises the importance of Djibouti’s heritage. Broadly, there are six areas where the state plays a role. They are in the dissemination of arts and culture; the recognition and support of a dynamic environment for the arts to flourish; promoting Djibouti’s cultural assets; providing information, especially within the education system, to stimulate cultural awareness and participation; to research and preserve Djibouti’s historical sites; and act in partnership and consultation with all stakeholders.
Press and communications
The Ministry’s mandate includes oversight of press and communications. This department’s main task is to coordinate the activities of the national media and to mobilise coverage of major events.
It is accepted that there is the need for a revitalisation of the media industries in terms of organisation, regulation and legislation. The policy is to support training, improve TV coverage, and promote the national language.
The intention is to stimulate the national media to fully play its essential role in the democratic life of the country and to promote to the international media Djibouti’s economic, cultural and tourism successes and future potential. The print and broadcast media has seen significant development and progress. There are currently three newspapers in French, English and Arabic: The Nation, Djibouti Post and Al Qarn.
The Djibouti Information Agency and the Radio Television de Djibouti have been reorganised and strengthened with new staff and equipment. Today, all countries in the region (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Eritrea) and the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE) are covered by our radio programmes, which substantially increases the audience of Djibouti’s media and the country’s international profile.
In line with a government policy of decentralisation, the regional media has been strengthened and autonomous local radio programmes are tailored to people’s concerns. Hundreds of international filmmakers and journalists are also welcomed each year to cover stories on all aspects of life in Djibouti. These range from social to cultural issues to the political and economic developments in Djibouti.
There are no restrictions imposed in Djibouti concerning what radio and TV channels can be received. Indeed, four cable companies already operate within Djibouti. Many major radio stations including the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Monte Carlo use Djibouti to broadcast their programmes in different languages.