The 20th Meeting of East African Community Council of Ministers held in March 2010 and subsequently the 23rd Council of Ministers Meeting held in September 2011, directed the EAC Secretariat to organize regular EAC Arts and Culture Festival in the EAC Partner States on rotational basis.
Pursuant to the Directive, the 1st Edition of the festival dubbed EAC Arts and Culture Festival in Kiswahili “Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival” (JAMAFEST) was held in February 2013 in Kigali Rwanda and attracted an audience of over 17,500.
The 2nd Edition of the festival dubbed -Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST) was held from the 2nd to 9th August 2015 in Nairobi-Kenya and attracted an audience of 1,060 participants from the five Partner States, over 61,000 people took part in the JAMAFEST Carnival on Monday 3rd September 2015, at least 21,000 guests visited the JAMAFEST village during the seven days.
The 3rd Edition of the Festival took place from 7th – 15th September 2017 in Kampala, Uganda under the theme; “Culture and Creative Industries; the engine for Unity and Employment Creation”. Over 30,000 people participated in the festival held at the Kololo Independence Grounds and other subsidiary venues.
The 4th Edition of the EAC JAMAFEST was held in Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania, under the theme: Cultural Diversity: A key driver to Regional Integration, Economic Growth and Promotion of Tourism, from 21st to 28th September 2019 attracting more than 40,000 participating at the various venues of the course of the seven days.
At the official closing ceremony, the Republic of Burundi was proposed and given the opportunity to host the 5th Edition of JAMAFEST in 2021. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic that restricted travel among Partner States, the festival was postponed to September 2022.
The JAMAFEST activities include a carnival, arts exhibitions and demonstrations in the open spaces, Cultural Villages, Symposiums and different workshops.
The Objectives of EAC Arts & Culture Festival “JAMAFEST”
- To provide a platform to showcase culture as a primary driver of regional integration and sustainable development;
- Bring together East African cultural practitioners and administrators to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage as well as contemporary practice of East Africa;
- Provide space for intercultural dialogue amongst the people of East Africa;
- Foster the economic development of the EAC through nurturing the growth of a strong creative and cultural industry sector. And
- Promote arts and culture as a tool in the celebration and branding of East African identity and image.