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Creativity has become a vital part of the economy

2018-08-23  Edgar Brandt

Creativity has become a vital part of the economy

WINDHOEK - While the industrial economy in the past required mostly land, labour and capital, the new emerging economy uses creative industries to produce meanings from the world of ideas. In the past, creativity and industry were not generally linked but nowadays the notion that arts and creativity serve as major economic drivers is fast gaining impetus. 

These were some of the sentiments shared by Professor Richard Haines, CEO of the South African Cultural Observatory, during day one of the ongoing three-day Arts Summit of Southern Africa, which is taking place in Windhoek this week. 

During his presentation, Haines noted that in the new economies of the 21st century, novel forms of value are being created.  

“Cultural production itself is changing. Conventional views of the individual creative artist are replaced by a view of creativity as a social process embedded within organisation and institutional contexts. With the rise of the Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) sector and the creative economy and so-called creative class, leadership models and approaches are also evolving. The application of cultural leadership is wider and deeper than in earlier decades,” said Haines.  

“The shift to the idea of the CCI and Creative Economy is not without its critics. Perception that the emphasis on the beneficiation of culture is too instrumentalist comes at a time when direct public spending on the arts is declining globally,” said Haines. 

However, Haines pointed out that challenges do exist, especially for emerging and developing economies, in recognising the creative economy as a driver of economic growth. These challenges include budgetary pressures on the state, trade inequalities in terms of CCI goods and services and how to leverage domestic funding and resources for the CCI sector.
“These imperatives impact on leadership and policy in the national economies in question. Increasingly, creativity and innovation are the driving forces of the global economy,” Haines noted.  

According to UNCTADStat, a statistical database created by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, world trade in creative goods and services have more than doubled from US$208 billion in 2002 to US$509 billion in 2015. This means that the global creative economy realised an average 7.3 percent annual growth in the export of creative goods between 2002 and 2015. 

Also, an EY global survey found that in 2015, creative industries accounted for three percent, about US$2.25 trillion, of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), creating 29.5 million jobs. Haines noted, however, that according to Oxford Economics 2014 the contribution to the GDP of the sector does vary considerably, from under two percent in Chile to over 10 percent in Brazil and the USA (Oxford Economics 2014). Also, in South Africa in 2014, just under three percent, or an estimated 450 000 jobs, were employed in the creative economy, in either creative occupations or in the creative sectors. 

It is estimated that currently, the greater creative economy is responsible for almost seven percent of GDP but that such developments are conditioned by factors such as the expansion of the digital economy, accompanying growth of copyright industries, patent-based industries, research and development (R&D), and other creative industries (predicated strongly on intellectual property). 

“While there is necessary subsidisation of certain enterprises and agencies within the creative economy, we are dealing with a range of firms and enterprises which have to turn a profit. As success rates in CCI sectors in the advanced economies indicate, intellectual property is central to the development of the CCIs while informed interaction with and insertion into relevant value and chains is crucial,” said Haines.

2018-08-23  Edgar Brandt

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