Caribbean countries not tapping into their creative resources

GREATER GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Dr Hilary Brown, CARICOM Secretariat’s Programme Manager on Culture and Community Development has observed that developing countries including CARICOM Member States have not maximized the opportunities presented within the cultural/creative industries sector, which she said, was one of the fastest growing sectors of the world-economy.

Dr Brown was one of the main speakers at a special symposium to mark this year’s World Intellectual Property Rights Day on Monday, April 26 at the National Library, Guyana. The Symposium was organised by the Guyana Audiovisual Industries Network (GAIN) under the theme Intellectual Property Rights for Value Added Development in Guyana.

Commenting on the creative economy and the value of cultural industries, Dr Brown used statistics to note that in the period 2000 to 2005, trade in cultural goods and services grew at an average of 8.7 % per annum, while the value of world exports of creative goods and services was US$424.4 billion in 2005, representing 3.4% of world trade. She added that the best estimates value the sector at 7 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, which was projected to grow at 10 per cent per annum.

In addition, she pointed out that the creative industries was the leading sector in more developed countries, noting that in the United States in 2003, for example, creative industries contributed 6% of GDP and accounted for 4.7 million jobs. On the other hand, a 2006 Study commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Jamaica revealed that the creative industries accounted for 5.1% of GDP and made an employment contribution of 3%.

The obvious growth trends in that sector, the Culture expert opined, presented an opportunity for developing countries to make “quantum leaps” into new value-added areas. However she observed that developing countries were not currently benefiting from the potential of their creative economies despite the richness of their cultural expressions, talents and diversity.

“Out of 132 developing countries, 85 have never produced one commercial film,” Dr Brown stated, “and can only account for 3% of world markets for paintings and approximately 4% for sculptures,” she added as an example.

According to Dr Brown, the global demand for Caribbean creative industries was growing and provided good returns on investments, especially in literary works, fashion, festivals, and music. Growth in the ‘diasporic’ economy, she stated, was also generating demand for domestic and regional content and provided a bridge to international markets. All this, she said, should redound to boosting the Caribbean economy, “if only we would tap into these tremendous possibilities.”

“It is time for the Caribbean to recognize what others have long discovered – that Culture has great economic value and our region is poised to realize significant earnings from the many excellent cultural goods and services we produce, for which we are known and respected globally.”

Related Articles

Back to top button