Rwanda hosts the 1st edition of East African Community (EAC) Arts and Cultural Festival JAMAFEST from 11th to 17th February 2013. This year's theme is "Fostering the East African Community integration through the Culture industries".
Through cultural expressions such as music, dance, drama, art and crafts, the festival hopes to encourage East African citizens to share cultural values.
Opening the festival, Rwandan Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali remarked,
"As East Africans, we gather here in Kigali this week as One People with a Common Destiny, to celebrate and acknowledge the great importance of our cultural identity".
"I have no doubt that this festival will be one of the most vibrant celebrations of East Africa's rich and diverse arts and cultural heritage in the years to come and indeed will provide a platform to showcase culture as a primary driver of EAC integration and sustainable development," he added
The Council of Ministers of EAC held on September 23rd, 2011, directed the Secretariat to hold regular EAC Arts and Cultural Festivals in the EAC Partner States on a rotational basis with the aim of fostering an East African cultural identity. This cultural identity would demonstrate unity in diversity and create an enabling environment for the promotion and development of arts and creative industries as a viable tool for sustainable socio-economic development.
Several officials attended the opening ceremony among them ministers from EAC countries, EAC Executive Secretary, EAC Legislative Assembly members and artists from all EAC countries.