UN report launched

Creative Economy report

Creative Economy report

The second Creative Economy report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is officially launched today (11 March) at King’s College London by Edna Dos Santos-Duisenberg, Chief of the Creative Economy and Industries Programme at UNCTAD.

Professor Andy C Pratt, Head of the Centre of Culture, Media & Creative Industries at King’s advised UNCTAD on the report. The report has re-shaped the landscape of government agencies discussing this sector, and provides an important touchstone for future debate.

The Creative Economy report was first produced by UNCTAD in 2008. It contained two parts: first a conceptual framework for the proper consideration of the creative economy and international trade, an international framework for measurement and assessment, and for benchmarking and evaluation; second, a statistical compendium of data derived from the UN COMTRADE and processed uniquely in this report.

Since its publication it has become a template for debates about creative economy and international trade, and the question of development. The second edition of the report updates the data base, and refines the contextual information.

Professor Pratt comments: ‘This report is significant in providing a focus on the creative economy in a fixed international persecutive and insight into the distribution of benefits of creative economy trade, in particular highlighting the emergent role of the Global South, and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations in particular.

‘It provides a new lens on trade and development, bringing into focus a previously neglected category of activity: the creative economy. Moreover, it stresses the real and significant contribution of this sector to national economies and world trade. The creative economy is no longer the Cinderella sector.’

Key findings and recommendations include:

- Early indication that demand for some "creative industry" products - particularly those which are domestically consumed, such as videos, music, video games, and new formats for TV programmes - remained stable during the global recession. This economic sector, especially if supported by enlightened government policies, may help national economies, including those of developing countries, to recover from the downturn;

- Global exports of creative goods and services - products such as arts and crafts, audiovisuals, books, design work, films, music, new media, printed media, visual and performing arts, and creative services - more than doubled between 2002 and 2008. The total value of these exports reached US $592 billion in 2008, and the growth rate of the industry over that six-year period averaged 14 per cent;

- The creative industries hold great potential for developing countries seeking to diversify their economies and participate in one of the most dynamic sectors of world commerce. The global market already had been boosted by increases in South-South trade in creative products before the recession set it in. The South’s exports of creative goods to the world reached $176 billion in 2008, or 43 per cent of total creative-industries trade.

- Developing countries should include creative goods in their lists of products, and should conclude their negotiations under the Global System of Trade Preferences so that they give more impetus to the expansion of South-South trade in this sector. The rate of growth in such trade of creative goods – from $7.8 billion in 2002 to $21 billion in 2008 – is an opportunity that should be fully realised;

- The study presents several country profiles that show the trade performances of creative industries. These are intended to serve as examples of how every country can benefit from the multiple possibilities of an analysis tool offered by the UNCTAD Global Database on the Creative Economy. The database can be accessed at http://unctadstat.unctad.org/

- 75 per cent of the world’s four billion mobile phones are in use in developing countries and it urges greater efforts to expand broadband Internet to such nations, as marketing and distribution of creative goods is increasingly based on this technology.

- An increasing number of cities, it notes, are using the concept of "creative cities" to design urban development strategies for reinvigorating growth with focus on culture and creative activities. These principles can be adapted for rural areas and disadvantaged communities as a tool for generating jobs, particularly for youth, empowering creative women and promoting social inclusion in line with the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The report offers 10 key messages to assist governments in policy-making that can enhance their creative economies. The electronic version of the Creative Economy Report - 2010 can be downloaded at www.unctad.org/creative-economy

Edna Dos Santos-Duisenberg will present the main findings, and then answer questions in discussion with Professor Pratt.

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