Thursday, December 16, 2010

Creative industries doing good during the crisis

The latest UNCTAD publication Creative Economy Report 2010 argues that the 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, and this economic sector, especially if supported by enlightened government policies, may help national economies, including those of developing countries, to recover from the downturn. Here is UNCTAD’s database on creative industries.

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 report notes. 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%.

The report says that 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% of total creative-industries trade.

One of the key recommendations of the report is that 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 realized, the report says.

South Asia and creative industries’ goods trade

In South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal have less emphasis on creative-industry development, but craft industries, furniture making and handloom industries have traditionally been widespread.

In total, Nepal’s exports of creative industries’ goods were US$14.52 million and imports from South Asia were US$37.79 million in 2003. The figures are of the latest year available. Nepal exported US$ 79.50 million and imported US$ 58.75 million worth of creative industries’ goods from the world. So, in terms of trade of creative industries’ goods, Nepal has trade surplus with the world but a deficit with South Asia.

Trade of creative industries’ goods within South Asia was US$ 275.59 million of exports and US$ 255.68 million of imports in 2008. The corresponding figures for 2002 were US$ 19.98 million and US$ 28.30 million, respectively.

South Asia’s exports of creative industries’ goods to the world were US$ 11160.56 and imports were US$3481.86 million in 2008. The corresponding figures for 2002 were US$250.28 million and US$ 430.92 million, respectively. The 2008 figures represent 2.74 percent and 0.83 percent of South Asia’s exports and imports as a share of world export and imports.

Creativity, knowledge and access to information are increasingly recognized as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalizing world.