The African Regional Committee Memory of the World (ARCMoW)

On the fringe of the eighth meeting of the IAC of MoW that took place in Pretoria, Tshwane from June 11 to 15, 2007, African participants held a general meeting during which they adopted the Tshwane Declaration (Appendix III a). Representatives from Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi were in attendance.
The Tshwane Declaration established the African Regional Memory of the World Committee (ARCMoW) in that it recommended its creation. South Africa convened and fully hosted the inauguration meeting of ARCMoW in Pretoria from January 30 to 31, 2008. At the end of this meeting, a Committee was elected which was composed as follows:

  • Chairperson: Mrs Mandy Gilder, South Africa
  • Vice-chairs: Mr John M’reira, Kenya; Mr Simao Jaime, Mozambique; and Mr Papa Momar Diop, Senegal.
  • Secretary General: Mrs. Ellen Ndeshi Namhilla, Namibia.

A third meeting organized by the National Committee of Namibia was held in Windhoek from November 18 to 20, 2008, and brought together members of the ARCMoW Bureau.

Unfortunately, ARCMoW became inactive after that meeting and so did not carry out any activities until 2018. Building on the Regional Consultation on the implementation of the 2015 Recommendation held in Abuja from June 25 to 27, 2018, under the auspices of UNESCO, participants representing almost all African States organized a meeting to revitalize ARCMoW. It should be noted that the Abuja conference generated a consensual action plan to implement Recommendation 2015, an action plan that National Committees and ARCMoW must carry out.

An Executive Revival Council was set up at this meeting: Mandy Gilder, South Africa; Papa Momar Diop, Senegal; Flexon Mizinga, Director General of National Museum Council, Zambia; Hem Lata Devi Ramkalawan, Mauritius; Elisam Magara, Uganda; Appolinaire Gbaguidi, Benin; Brice Isinove Owabira, Rep of Congo; Ferdinand Ngoungoulou, Gabon; Lydia Waithira Muthuma, Kenya; and Kassim M. Khamis, member of the Agenda 2063 Technical Team, African Union. Unfortunately, this Bureau was unable to meet and start the Abuja Action Plan.

With the UNESCO Unit assistance for Documentary Heritage, the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar, and the Senegal National Commission for UNESCO, ARCMoW was able to hold an online series of consultations for the revitalization of ARCMoW, from May 26- 28, 2021. These consultations resulted in the revision of the basic texts of ARCMoW and the election of an Executive Committee for four years. The Executive Committee is composed as follows:

  • President: Mr. Papa Momar Diop: Senegal, Western Africa;
  • Vice-Presidents:
    i. Mr. Mbimbawa Ivan, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa: Treasury, Finance, and Marketing.
    ii. Mr. Ferdinand Ngouloulou, Gabon, Central Africa: Communication and Information
    iii. Mr. Élisam Magara, Uganda, Eastern Africa: Training and Regional Register;
  • Secretary General: Ms. Helena Asamoah-Hassan, Ghana, Western Africa;
  • Rapporteur; Mr. Koffi Yao Célestin, Côte d’Ivoire, Western Africa;
  • Members:
    Ms. Nora Kapinga Wonzila , Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa; Ms. Lydia Mutuma, Kenya, Eastern Africa; Mr. Alassane Waongo, Burkina Faso, Western Africa;
  • Advisors: Mr. Justin Séa: Ivory Coast, Western Africa, Ms. Mandy Gilder: South Africa, Southern Africa.

The objectives of ARCMoW are to:

  • perform awareness-raising activities in the African Region about the MoW Programme and the documentary heritage of Africa;
  • encourage the creation of national MoW committees throughout Africa;
  • assist in the implementation of the National MoW Committees’ work
  • promote, facilitate and monitor the MoW Programme in the Africa Region
  • represent Africa at the international level
  • design a MoW Regional Register and determine the selection and inscription criteria;
  • endorse African proposals for inscription in the MoW International Register;
  • back items presented by one or more Member States for nomination to the UNESCO Jikji Prize;
  • encourage a significant presence of the documentary heritage of Africa in the MoW International Register.