Values Exchange

The role of creative industries in developing countries | Experts’ Opinions

18 Aug 2022
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The role of creative industries in developing countries | Experts’ Opinions


The role of creative industries in developing countries | Experts’ Opinions

By Catalina Russu

Key Takeaways:

  • The cultural and creative industries were among the first sectors to shut their doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the tourism sector, creative industries (Cis) were among the most affected by the current corona crisis.
  • Investment in the creative industries could help them to become one of the most impactful economic sectors for developing countries as they are knowledge-based and can therefore create jobs, increase competitiveness and generate income.
  • Creativity can be an integral part of multiple value chains and generate enormous added value and competitive advantages.
  • Finally, creative industries can play a crucial role in building much-needed social cohesion and cultural inclusion in many developing countries, providing a nurturing ground for economic growth and welfare.

How can creative industries boost the economies of developing countries?

Marie-Ange Nouroumby, communication specialist in international development finance

“Accelerating investment in the creative industries will help convert them into one of the most impactful economic sectors for the countries that are in urgent need of creating jobs. Developing countries have two distinct features: they are home to the youngest populations in the world and their economies remain partially informal. The restrictions of movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for a sharp increase in the viral production and consumption of creative content all over the world.  The hunger for universal storylines narrated in local contexts opened the door to the rise of social media influencers and catapulted some creative products to global success. This change is also enabled by using disruptive platforms and technology – often led by young people. Development partners will need to work in a concerted manner with all the relevant stakeholders. With innovative investment, policy, and by providing adequate business training, the strengthening of the operational environment of the creative industries can help lift millions of young people out of poverty. For instance, by connecting fashion to the film industry, which in turn can contribute to boost tourism and the hospitality sector, the creative industries can be a key element to catalyze the growth of developing economies.”

Nurten Meriçer, Creative Producer, ReHub

“First of all, the primary source of value in a creative economy is talent which is equally distributed among nations. Creative products and services can pop up anywhere in the world regardless of how developed the region or country is. Creativity can also be an integral part of the value chains of other products and services to generate enormous added value and competitive advantage. By taking simple measures like investing in human development, removing barriers for creative expression, and adopting mechanisms of commercialization, there are no borders for developing countries to be global players in the creative economy. Secondly, creative industries do not need high-budget infrastructure development, expensive capital investment or the exploitation of rare natural resources to grow. Considering the challenges developing countries face to reach sustainable growth, creative industries could be the most viable option for diversifying and stabilizing economic activity with optimal resources. By nature, the creative economy is populated by solo entrepreneurs and micro enterprises making it easy to enter by underrepresented groups like women and youth. Creative industries can generate income, jobs and exports faster than many other sectors. Thanks to the technological breakthroughs of the last two decades, it takes seconds for creative industry products and services to travel the world and reach global markets and audiences. Finally, creative industries can play a crucial role in building much-needed social cohesion and cultural inclusion in many developing countries, providing a nurturing ground for economic growth and welfare.”

Andrea King, Director, Culture and Arts for Love and Living (CALL), Member, UNESCO Expert Facility

“The creative industries can be positioned as strategic contributors to developing countries as they are knowledge-based and can therefore create jobs, increase competitiveness and generate income/foreign exchange. The nature of the CIs is such that its ways of producing or manufacturing can be applied to, or adopted by, other sectors. The approaches to creation (innovation) and the steps to actualize ideas (processes) can be applied to other sectors or industries to increase competitiveness and productivity. Creativity alone cannot do it however as at the domestic level, capacity needs to be enhanced: the creators – usually micro-enterprises – need to have consistent access to working capital and distribution channels. Globally, the imbalance in trade has to be redressed. Copyright and IP laws have to be enforced to enable creators to benefit financially. The rapid evolution of new media creates multi-directional opportunities which means nothing if the creators do not have access to such technology or cannot receive payments (royalties or other) for their creations. Until barriers to real growth – like the severe impacts of climate change and the opening up of colonial trade networks – are managed to create parity in the creative sector in developing countries, the real boost to the economy will not be experienced.”

Angels Muñoz Celdrán, PhD, International Consultor in Entrepreneurship in Cultural & Creative Industries

“The 2005 UNESCO Convention  highlights the links between culture, creation and sustainable development for developing countries. Before the COVID 19 Pandemic, Cultural and Creative Industries sector, grew worldwide above the energy sector. Although the differences between Developed and Developing Countries were enormous, the average income for Developed Countries was 30% of total income, but for Africa it was only 3% and for Latin American countries, 6% . COVID caused the closure of many Cultural and Creative Industries although the creators demonstrated their solidarity with humanity, and thanks to technology, we heard and saw artists from their homes and terraces showing their works to the world, filmmakers who filmed from confinement, artists and producers collaborating each other, through their mobile phones, computers, and social networks from different cities and countries. A world connected by NT opens a promising stage for developing countries and the access of their creators and products to the “glocal” market. The “Medici Effect” that could provoke the interaction between actors, audiences and consumers of the Cultural & Creative Sector of the developed and developing world, opens a new enriching era for all. For this, it is necessary to develop communication and logistics networks that facilitate interaction among all, linking creators, products and consummers throughout the world.”

Tebo Motlhaping, Intellectual Property Expert

“When harnessed well, the creative industry can be instrumental to leapfrog the economies of many developing countries into the much-touted knowledge economy. It can be a source of economic transformation, job creation, and sustainable human development among many other benefits. Many big economies of the world have excelled at unlocking the value of the creative industry for eons now. They have been able to sell their cultures and dominate the world through the creative economy sectors such as music, film and television, print media, and recently social media, boosting their GDPs in the process. Developing economies can therefore creatively synergize the creative industry with other traditional industries like tourism, agriculture, mining, etc. to realize their value and grow their economies. In order to get this right, there is a need for governments to invest in the necessary infrastructure, to intentionally support and grow the industry. Further, emphasis should be put on the enforcement of copyright and intellectual property (IP) in general. The importance of the effective protection of IP rights cannot be overemphasized as this can assist in attracting both domestic and foreign investment.”

Geraldine Quetin, Expert in designing and developing startup support

Digital adaptation has been greatly accelerated by the pandemic and for the events and tourism industry where the facility of videoconferencing now offers access to creative immersive remote journeys. The Front Palace in Bangkok, for instance, had already initiated virtual visits before the pandemic but their communication teams have since been working hard on further developing this route. In Uganda, the Kampala Art Biennale, a biannual exhibition of contemporary African art, has partnered with web developers, creators, 3D specialists, game designers, and digital artists to craft a new way to attend a Biennial by bringing it to life in a multisensory virtual space. Their teams also allowed the public to interact with the artists and network through chat rooms and webinars. By capillarity, those new approaches also tackle business models, distribution, and promotion activities. Digitalization makes remote collaboration and networking capabilities much easier than ever before. The creative industry is thus reinventing its exhibition spaces and can participate, with skills such as the architectural professions, in reinventing workspaces and industries.

Busra Durmaz Ercetin, PhD-Ongoing in Faculty of Architecture, Department of City and Regional Planning

“In Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, I’ve been conducting research on the “software sector” under the framework of Creative Industries for my Ph.D. thesis. Our country’s technology infrastructure has been upgraded and internet speeds have been improved as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the software industry has profited from the current scenario which is based on digital platforms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies developing software – computer games, online sports applications, eating, drinking, and online commerce – have gained an advantage and profit rates increased. In interviews with company representatives for Ph.D. research, it has been indicated from the opinions that face-to-face communication has begun to lose its priority and that work is carried out more efficiently on digital platforms. As a result of the pandemic, Turkey, as a developing country, has accelerated its adaptation to digitalization and reinforced its technology infrastructure. Information and communication technologies, as well as the software industry, which is one of the relevant creative industries, took advantage of this process by speeding up their adaptation to contemporary digital technologies.”

Flavia Marzano, computer scientist

“Innovation needs new visions, not just new technologies. Technologies create a new ecosystem and new lifestyles, they are neither good, nor bad, nor neutral but, in order to protect people’s rights, they require competences, strictness, ethics, discipline, change roles (vertically and horizontally), change work environments, listening and fostering mutual trust, be an early adopter! Technologies do not adapt technologies to the processes (but we have to redefine processes)!”



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