Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Economic Impact of the Arts

The following is an edited extract from a media release issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 15 August 2008:
"The Creative Economy Report 2008, released by UNCTAD/UNDP in April (see http://unctad.org/creative-economy) showed that global trade in creative goods and services grew by 8.7% annually from 2000-2005, making it one of the most vibrant sectors in world commerce. The value of exports of creative goods reached US$ 335.5 billion in 2005, according to figures reported by over 130 countries, while exports of creative services totalled $89 billion.

Trade in creative products is dominated by developed countries -- they account for about 90% of exports of music and audiovisuals, for example -- although the world's poorer nations have achieved rapid growth in the creative sector recently.

An UNCTAD database providing trade statistics on creative goods and services is available to the public at http://stats.unctad.org/creative. The statistics cover about 235 products related to heritage, arts, media and functional creations.
Trade in creative products is dominated by developed countries -- they account for about 90% of exports of music and audiovisuals, for example -- although the world's poorer nations have achieved rapid growth in the creative sector recently.

http://www.oncrm.co.za/references/resource?onRN01=bAlu.U3lZCWDMix0eXSlOklPm
odlqA3U70lyOCI5gaNN&fileName=/AN_Newsletter_1/creative_economy_picture.gif

An UNCTAD database providing trade statistics on creative goods and services is available to the public at http://stats.unctad.org/creative. The statistics cover about 235 products related to heritage, arts, media and functional creations.

The database's statistics are based on information reported by national sources to the United Nations. Currently the site shows global trade flows for 1996-2006. The statistics are available as tabular reports, country profiles, tables, and charts. Selected products are listed along with the major exporters/importers in major markets for such creative products as art and crafts, music CDs and video/films.

The site is a "work in progress" that aims at improving market transparency and supporting governments in policy making. There are gaps in data, as traditional statistical methods are being updated to reflect accurately the rapidly growing international exchange of digitalized products such as music, films, videos, advertising, news, and all creative content that travel via the Internet and mobile phones."

The Nairobi Plan calls for "evidence-based and informed policies, strategies and plans of action through reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive data" and suggests one strategy in this regard would be to "conduct research on the economic contributions of cultural and creative industries in the economies of (African Union) member states".

DOEN and the Stromme Foundation have made available funds for the ARTerial Network to conduct such research. A company will be commissioned to collate all the research that has been done in this field in Africa over the last five years, to train a number of local researchers and to undertake further research into the economic impact of the creative industries. Part of the plan is have such ongoing research feed into an annual conference that will rotate from region to region, and which will feed into the formulation of appropriate policies and strategies further to develop the African cultural sector.
The ARTerial Network has begun discussions with UNCTAD about co-operating in this sphere. UNCTAD has launched a pilot, multi-agency project jointly with UNESCO and the ILO, in five ACP countries including Zambia, Mozambique and Senegal.

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John said...

The socio-economic impact of the arts has become an increasingly important rationale for public investment in the cultural sector over the last two decades. However, current literature shows that neither the funding bodies nor their clients have managed to establish a methodology robust enough to be accepted and consistently applied across a wide range of publicly-funded arts organizations.
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