Thursday, June 05, 2008

Strengthening Local Creative Industries and Developing Cultural Capacity for Povery Alleviation

Source: INCD

Roadmap for the INCD

This Roadmap is based on a Study commissioned by the INCD and undertaken by Burama K. Sagnia. Both of these works are intended to inform the discussions at the 6th Annual Meeting of the INCD taking place in Dakar, Senegal from 17-20 November 2005. This Roadmap both summarises the Study and outlines a course of action for INCD to pursue its objectives in this field.


Since its formation in 1998 and its founding meeting in 2000, the focus of INCD’s advocacy has been on building support for the Convention on the protection and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. Also from the beginning, INCD has recognised that achieving greater cultural diversity requires the development of cultural capacity and creative industries in many countries and achieving more balance in the global exchange of cultural goods and services. With the adoption of the Convention by the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005, the activities of the INCD will shift to other priorities that support the realisation of the goals of the Convention and the objectives of INCD and its members.

The Study investigates and analyses three areas where INCD can make a contribution, through clearly-defined interventions.

  1. The development of creative industries to promote job creation, income generation and poverty alleviation.
  2. Campaigning to increase resources for cultural projects allocated by development agencies.
  3. Integrating Cultural Impact Assessment into development frameworks and processes of development agencies.

While the Study addresses these themes sequentially, the findings and recommendations have been regrouped into the following areas for purposes of this Roadmap:

  1. Stimulating and Strengthening Local Creative Industries.
  2. Developing Cultural Capacity and Strengthening Local Institutions.
  3. Advocacy Programme.


Principal Issues
Creative industries are today considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy, outperforming traditional economic sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. To start, it is necessary to define creative industries and to understand why the sector is becoming an important sector in the global economy. Creative industries can be seen as:

Those industries that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent with a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.

(Adapted from the 1988 definition used by the United Kingdom Creative Industries Task Force, during the first national mapping exercise on creative industries.)

Drawing from this definition and others adopted by meetings and bodies such as the International Forum on Creative Industries and the UNCTAD High-Level Panel on Creative Industries and Development (Brazil, 2004), creative industries are understood to include the following sub-sectors:

The recording industry, music, performing arts, film and video, publishing, software and computer services, photography, art and antiquities, radio, television and broadcasting industries, advertising, crafts, architecture, design, designer fashion, interactive leisure software, cultural heritage and tourism.

Globalisation and the increasing interdependence of national economies have opened up new opportunities in the creative industries for developing countries and countries in transition; at the same time, these factors are potential threats to cultural diversity and creativity. Because creative industries draw from the creative expressions of communities based on the wealth of their historical and contemporary values and symbols, support for the industries should be seen as an integral part of the preservation, protection and promotion of cultural diversity. Moreover, as such diversity is a global public good, it needs to be fully supported by the international community and this is explicitly acknowledged in the new UNESCO Convention.

Creativity is a ubiquitous asset available in all countries. Its effective nurturing and exploitation could contribute to job creation, income generation and poverty alleviation. These opportunities have been unrealised in many developing countries and countries in transition for many reasons, including the expanding technological frontiers of the information society.

Creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy, and contribute significantly to the GDP of many developed countries. It is estimated that the global market value of creative industries will increase to US $1.3 trillion in 2005, up from US $831 billion in 2000, an annual compound growth rate over 7 percent. Globally, the industries now account for over 7 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and are forecast to grow in coming years y 10 percent per annum (UNCTAD, 2004). These industries are already a leading economic sector in OECD countries, with annual growth rates between 5 and 20 percent (E.U., 2003).

However, most developing and transition economies continue to be marginal players, regardless of their rich cultural heritage. Nonetheless, the potential for them to reap the benefits from the creative economy is enormous, given the examples of the Indian and Nigerian Film Industries, as well as the examples of successful craft industries in Senegal, South Africa, India and Brazil. Effective national policies and carefully-designed intervention strategies and programmes for creative industries could make a difference.

But developing dynamic competitiveness in creative industries in developing countries and countries in transition will require that major challenges and obstacles be identified and addressed. Most of the sectors classified under these industries are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and operate largely within the informal economy. In 2004 UNCTAD reported that the following challenges need to be addressed to enhance the competitiveness of creative industries in developing countries:

  • Regulatory environment
    A simple, transparent, stable and enforceable regulatory environment is the basis upon which a dynamic enterprise can develop.

  • Public-private sector partnership
    A favourable investment framework cannot be provided exclusively by the market, the firm or the state acting independently, but requires a partnership between all stakeholders.

  • Access to finance
    Creative industries in developing countries traditionally have difficulty in obtaining credit or equity, because they are regarded by creditors and investors as high risk.

  • Access to technology

  • Development of entrepreneurial skills

  • Intellectual property rights
    Weak copyright legislation and ineffective enforcement regimes can jeopardise growth.

  • Concentration of media ownership

The Study provides examples of successful case studies and innovative experiences of small scale creative enterprises in Senegal, South Africa, India and Brazil. Lessons can be learned from these experiences to inform the INCD in its future interventions in these areas.


Principal Issues
Building dynamic competitiveness in the creative industries in developing countries requires the strengthening of domestic producers and supply capacities, which can have the most positive economic effect if they are integrated into global markets. All of this requires the development of local capacity and competence among artists and cultural entrepreneurs, the strengthening of local institutions and infrastructure, the development of networks, the building of new creative partnerships, enhancement of the domestic policy framework and the development of a favourable incentive structure.

The experiences of countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Brazil, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and India which have successfully nurtured and developed their domestic creative industries attest to the fact that these sectors can contribute to skill-intensive and high value-added activities that generate linkages with ancillary sectors throughout the economy, including information and communication technologies and design capacities.

An agency’s approach to capacity building reflects its philosophy of development, as well as how it interprets its role. It requires an agency to work with its existing and potential counterparts in a way that responds coherently to a shared reading of the context, compatible criteria for evaluating results, and a mutual understanding of their respective mission and goals.

There are several models of capacity building:

  • Working through intermediaries
    This is often in the form of working through local NGOs or community-based organizations and providing grants for specified purposes.
  • Generating synergies
    In this case, the external agency works with a combination of counterparts on specified capacity building activities.
  • Promoting representative organisations
    This form of capacity building facilitates the emergence of unions, federations, alliances or national associations.
  • Generating new independent organisations
  • Governmental and non-governmental structures in parallel
    Sometimes, it may be appropriate to work predominantly through the state, usually through the Ministry of Culture or relevant national agencies responsible for specific cultural domains. This can be a channel for influencing the national cultural policy.

Specific capacity building activities can include:

  • Training
    This represents an investment in people and can include training about rights, awareness training, or vocational and skills training.

  • Institutional strengthening
    This is an investment in organisations. Organisations can take various shapes, including:
    - traditional organisations, mobilised around religion, ethnicity, gender, social class, village or kinship.
    - membership organisations, involving people with shared professional interests such as the musicians’ unions, etc.
    - organisations established by external agencies
    - development NGOs.

  • Partnership and cooperation
    This is investment in networks. This can be done through linking, exchange visits, workshops, seminars, conferences, electronic communication, etc.


The Study looks at four areas around which INCD will develop a broad-based advocacy programme. Advocacy starts with the research and writing of the necessary materials. While the Study is a good beginning and contains much information that will be useful for the campaign, there is need for additional secondary research and data in all areas.

After the necessary materials are prepared, the advocacy campaign can be launched, either on a regional or global basis, depending on the priorities that emerge from the additional research and the resources available to the INCD. The advocacy campaign can take many forms, from letter writing, meetings, media relations and conferences, to public demonstrations. The following areas are recommended for the advocacy programme.

1. Culture’s Relationship to Development
The Study observed that one critical area requiring the attention of the INCD is how to establish common ground with the development agencies on the importance of culture to the development process and the importance of cultural development.

The cultural community strives to project a perspective of culture as a “structural functional” vision of human society. This perspective advocates that the criteria and indicators for development must be broadened to include not only economic development, but also cultural growth and development. This also acknowledges the dual function of culture: its far-reaching instrumental function to promote economic development; and its intrinsic value that warrants it to grow and develop in its own right, to enable it to be effectively of service to development and other basic human objectives.

Examples of projects that can stimulate and strengthen local creative industries, and develop cultural capacity and local institutions are essential to this work and will form a key part of the support materials.

2. Increase Cultural Support by Development Agencies
The Study looks at the cultural budgets of several development agencies, both public and private. INCD will work to increase the commitment of development agencies to support:

  • the development of creative industries, including financing for start-ups and acquisition of technology, and for programmes dealing with market access, intellectual property rights and other matters;

  • the development of cultural capacity, including investments in the development of technical and professional creative skills, and managerial and organizational skills;

  • programmes to strengthen local cultural institutions, organisations and networks.

INCD will launch a consultation process to work with individual development agencies to seek a commitment from each to work on a particular issue (for example, developing the craft industry) for a given period of time (five-to-ten years).

Integrate Cultural Impact Assessment into Development Frameworks and Processes
The INCD executed a project on the development of a framework for Cultural Impact Assessment. It intends now to push ahead with a campaign to ensure that development agencies integrate the principles of CIA into their development frameworks and processes. In this regard, the INCD will create a web portal to document successful case studies of CIA practice, launch a targeted campaign on individual funding agencies to ensure that the CIA process is accommodated in project delivery, and engage in a dialogue with development agencies generally to promote CIA.

Raise Awareness of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressio
As part of its response to the new UNESCO Convention, INCD will embark on a campaign to encourage ratification. After ratification, it will work to ensure it is effective as possible and will work to sensitize governments and civil society about the potential of the Convention.

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