The first ideas for preserving the audio-visual memory in Africa emerged with the creation of film festivals (Carthage Film Festival, FESPACO, Durban International Film Festival, etc.) and filmmakers ’associations (FEPACI). The increase in production of African films with content based on African cultural values and identities rose awareness among filmmakers of the need to preserve these images which were part of their cultural heritage. This position was strengthened with examples of image preservation in Western countries, and the emergence of film libraries and archives worldwide. The first concerns about preserving African images in Africa came up in 1966 at FESMAN. As of its creation in 1970 in Tunis, FEPACI made the decision to establish a stock of African films in Ouagadougou and in 1973, at the 4th General Assembly, African filmmakers agreed to give copies of their films to Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, in view of the country’s commitment to cinema. In 1985, FEPACI Secretary General Gaston KABORE appealed again to African filmmakers to hand over copies of their films to the future African film library to be managed by FESPACO in view of the large number of films festival has been able to store over editions. Filmmakers should allow a copy of their films to be printed.

In collaboration with FESPACO in 1988, FEPACI began the process of creating the African film library which became a reality in 1989. The execution of the project and its management are entrusted to the Permanent General Secretariat of FESPACO.

The project was successful with partners as evidenced by the adoption of the first resolution in 1991 by Heads of State of Francophonie gathered at Palais de Chaillot (Paris) and another resolution of support adopted in 1993 by African Ministers of Culture.

On the occasion of the 14th Edition of FESPACO in 1995, the African Film Library of Ouagadougou (CAO) was inaugurated, manifesting the will of Burkina Faso, African filmmakers and partners to preserve and promote the African film heritage.

The African Film Library of Ouagadougou is a public institution under the authority of FESPACO and an affiliate of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) since 1994.

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The African Film Library of Ouagadougou