In addition to economic benefits, the creative economy - which includes audiovisual products, design, new media, performing arts, publishing and visual arts - also contributes significantly to inclusive social development, dialogue and understanding between people, the United Nations today reported.
The Special Edition of the UN Creative Economy Report, Widening local development pathways, was launched today at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in Paris.
“While creating jobs, creative economy contributes to the overall well-being of communities, individual self-esteem and quality of life, thus achieving inclusive and sustainable development,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO which co-published the report with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.
The launch comes as the international community is defining the global agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, and aims to recognize the importance and power of the cultural and creative sectors as engines of that development.
“Culture is both a driver and an enabler of human and sustainable development,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, in a video message. “It empowers people to take ownership of their own development, and stimulates the innovation and creativity which can drive inclusive and sustainable growth.”
World trade in creative goods and services totalled a record of $624 billion in 2011 and more than doubled from 2002 to 2011, according to figures in the report. Meanwhile, developing-countries averaged 12.1 per cent annual growth in exports of creative goods in that same time period.
Among the case studies in the report are the cultural and creative industries in Argentina, which the authors say employ some 300,000 people and represent 3.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), including through the City of Buenos Aires support to content producers.
In Morocco, publishing and printing employ 1.8 per cent of the labour force, with a turnover of more than $370 million, according to the report. The market value of the music industry was more than $54 million in 2009 and has increased steadily since.
Turning to Senegal, the association Africulturban in the city of Pikine has created a “Hip Hop Akademy” that trains local young people in digital graphic and design, music and video production, promotional management and marketing, as well as the English language to help young people perform “more effectively in both a local and global market that is in perpetual artistic and technological evolution”.
The report also features case studies about the Nigerian film industry known as ‘Nollywood’, the Chiang Mai Creative City (CMCC) initiative in Thailand, and the development of home textile industry in Nantong, China, among others.
Divided into two volumes, the report includes policy and recommendations, as well as a web-documentary that brings to life cases and trends, and opportunities and challenges of creative economy on the ground.