BARUA YA BARAZA: Taking a Stand on the Finance Bill and The Baraza Opportunity Board.

BARUA YA BARAZA: From the Curator’s Desk

Greetings, friends:
This past week, Baraza Media Lab was happy to host a ‘Creative Economy Town Hall’, which was the start of leading organizations from Kenya’s creative industry coming together to present a joint memorandum to the National Assembly. This document addresses several concerns about the proposed Finance Bill 2024 and represents the voices of over 8,000 creative professionals in fields such as film, music, visual arts, and literature.

Our creative sector is a big deal—it makes up 5% of Kenya’s GDP, creates jobs, and speaks to what it means to be Kenyan. However, some proposals in the new Finance Bill are detrimental to the industry’s thriving. Here’s a quick rundown of the key issues, and why they matter:

 

  • Excise Duty on Airtime and Data: This could hurt digital content creators who rely on these services, such as musicians for whom a chunk of their earnings come from the Safaricom’s Skiza platform.
  • Eco Levy on Equipment: Levies on cameras and recording gear will make it more expensive to produce quality content.
  • Relief Limit Cut: Reducing the tax relief for smaller creators means they’ll have a tougher time making ends meet.
  • Digital Service Tax: A steep 20% tax could scare off global platforms from investing in Kenyan content.
  • Sports Exemptions: Removing exemptions for amateur sports organizations could hurt grassroots sports development.

 

The memo (you can read it in full here) also calls for the digital marketplace to be declared a Special Economic Zone, providing necessary public investment and incentives. This isn’t without precedent: South Korea immediately comes to mind, which has heavily invested in its creative industry over the past few decades. The South Korean government implemented policies and allocated substantial funds to support K-pop, film, and television production. As a result, in 2020 South Korea’s cultural exports were valued at approximately $10 billion, and the entertainment industry has played a crucial role in enhancing the country’s global cultural influence and soft power.

So here’s what we want to to do: call, tweet or otherwise contact your MP to reject the highlighted proposals in Parliament, and use their position to support an innovative and competitive creative industry. What we need is their vote on the floor of the House, and not empty platitudes.

In the meantime, here’s:

What I’m Reading: Some say AI will make war more humane. Israel’s war in Gaza shows the opposite. This is the most terrifying thing I’ve read in a very long time. We are actually living in a real-life Black Mirror episode. Of note is that one of the two AI systems that guide Israeli missiles in Gaza is called ‘The Gospel’. Not making this up.

What I’m Watching: The Bahati’s Empire, on Netflix. Supporting Kenyan content (but also, wueh! Let’s discuss behind the tent.)

What I’m Listening To: Ceduction, by master producer Cedo. It’s really refreshing to see more of him in front of the mic, and not just working behind the scenes.

 

My best,

Christine Mungai

Curator | Baraza Media Lab

THE BARAZA JOB BOARD
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At Baraza, we recognize the struggle many face in finding meaningful roles and opportunities in the industry. To address this, we’re pioneering a solution: the Baraza Opportunity Board. Designed as an experimental platform, it aims to consolidate a diverse range of opportunities, from full-time positions, and residencies to freelance gigs and mentorship programs. Preview the curated opportunities below and visit the platform to view the full list.

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