CDEA was conceived after one of its directors, who in her capacity as a member the Commonwealth Group on Culture and Development, participated in drafting the Commonwealth Statement on Culture and Development in 2009, and realized there was need for a civil society organization to hold the East African partner states accountable for the promises they were making at international platforms on culture and development.

The statement urged Heads of Government, to recognize the connections between culture and development to take forward its recommendations through strengthened partnerships.

CDEA was incorporated on October 19, 2011 and began its implementation in 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. CDEA’s Culture and Governance programme was formed to respond to the need for civil society to engage in participatory governance. CDEA’s programme activities aim to mobilize and support civil society in East Africa to participate in evidence-based policy advocacy to place culture at the centre of human development.

In 2015, after a strategic planning process, CDEA embraced both its advocacy and service provider roles. CDEA is now a creative think tank based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that facilitates multi-stakeholders to use culture as a resource to promote creativity and innovation supported by technology to solve the numerous social, political and economic challenges faced in East Africa.

The creative think tank is also a hub where science meets art, and art meets other disciplines to innovate “out-of-the-box” solutions for this and the coming generation.

CDEA’s work  is aligned to the  2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity Cultural Expressions and the African Union Plan of Action for the Cultural and Creative Industries as well as the 1972 UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Our programming is focused around research, incubation and acceleration of the creative industries, support of creative writers through our Writers’ Lounge and implementation of projects around preserving natural heritage,  climate justice,  peace and social cohesion, sustainable cities and tourism.

In 2018, CDEA received consultative status from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Board of Directors

Godfrey Madaraka Nyerere


Godfrey Madaraka Nyerere has more than 20-years’ experience promoting cultural tourism from the village of Butiama, in north-eastern Tanzania and within the Northern Tourism Circuit of the country. Butiama is the birthplace and burial location of Tanzania’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. Madaraka is the founder of Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE), a community-based organization focused on promoting the historical legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere, and the cultural heritage of the Zanaki ethnic group.

Ms. Ayeta Anne Wangusa

Executive Director

Ayeta Anne Wangusa is a writer, creative social entrepreneur with interest in the creative economy, cultural policy and sustainable cities. She is a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility for 2005 Convention and a researcher in creative economy, media and communication policy and practice. She is the Executive Director of Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA).

Ms. Rose Haji Mwalimu


Ms. Rose Haji Mwalimu has over 23 years of experience in media practice. She is a seasoned media practitioner starting from sub- editor to National Director of a leading regional Media Institution of Southern Africa (MISA)., and later a community radio specialist in Tanzania. She is the Founder Chair/Member – International Women in Radio and Television (IWART), of Tanzania Chapter.

Editrudith Lukanga


Ms. Editrudith Lukanga is the Executive Director of EMEDO, an NGO advocating for natural resources management. She has a dedicated commitment to hard work and achievement that contributes to broad based sustainable human and economic development of the people she serves She is also the is a Co-president for the World Forum of Fish harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF).

Gertrude Ngenda


Gertrude Ngenda is a Research Fellow at the University of Zambia’s Institute for Economic and Social Research in the Urban development Research Programme. Gertrude has over 25 years of work experience in the Africa Region in Policy and Strategy Development, Regional and Urban Development and Environmental Sustainability and the living environment, delivering and managing projects and programmes as well as research and Development.

Staff Members