After 2 years of pandemic-induced lockdowns, there couldn’t be a better time to appreciate the creative economy and its ability to generate jobs in the African market. In response to the United Nations marking 2021 as the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development GrowZA adopted the principles of the UN resolution A/RES/74/198 to launch the GrowZA #Creativedevelopment scholarship programme.
Recognising the challenge of access to technical skills transfer in the South African context, GrowZA has partnered with a leading global mobile phone OEM OPPO South Africa to make scholarships available to South African youth for an online training programme facilitated by leading photography training school The Orms Cape Town School of Photography.
The profession of photography is changing. in 2022, you don’t even need to own a camera to become a pro; the phone is the number-one way of taking pictures, and the image quality achievable with today’s phones is comparable with DSLRs from only five years ago.
This online smartphone photography academy gives young South Africans access to skills that are relevant across an increasingly digital (and visual) market landscape.
COVID-19 has dealt a terrible blow to the creative industries, which employ more than 30 million people globally, mostly young people. In 2020, estimates say the cancellation of public performances alone has cost authors roughly 30% of global royalties, while the global film industry has lost $7 billion in revenues.
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has tracked trade in creative goods and services for close to 20 years, during which the growth rate of creative economy exports has often outpaced that of other industries.
Reflecting on the resolution, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said the following: “The creative industries are critical to the sustainable development agenda. They stimulate innovation and diversification, are an important factor in the burgeoning services sector, support entrepreneurship, and contribute to cultural diversity”. “There is an urgent need to both promote and protect the creative industries, especially in the decade we have left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she added. “Without them, the economic development, women’s empowerment, and cultural and poverty alleviation targets within the SDGs are unlikely to be met.”
The resolution recognizes that the creative economy has the potential to support developing countries and countries with economies in transition in diversifying production and exports and to deliver sustainable development in an inclusive and equitable manner.
The creative economy covers the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the ‘creative industries’ are based. These industries include advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research and development, software, computer games, electronic publishing and TV/radio.
The creative economy accounts for about 3% of global GDP, according to a 2015 study by professional services firm EY. But it’s worth is arguably much more when cultural value is added to its commercial gains.
The creative economy is proving to be a powerful emerging economic sector, strengthened by digitalization and a surge in services. Its contribution is likely to grow, experts say, and if key trends can be harnessed, we could be living in a much more creative world in the future.
This year, UNCTAD will work with experts from developing and developed countries to boost the gathering of data on creative goods and services. Find the full programme of activities here.
This is how we #GrowZA