Boost for 'creative industries'

GENEVA: A United Nations agency and the Brazilian government on Friday launched a joint initiative aimed at helping developing countries to reap the trade benefits of their “creative industries” such as music, art or film. 

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) cited data showing the huge economic value of creative industries in wealthy countries such as Britain, where they generate about £110bil (RM760bil) in annual revenue. 

UNCTAD estimated that creative work in music, film, or art is worth about 7% of the world's gross domestic product. The sector is forecast to grow annually by about 10%. 

But developing countries only take a “marginal” slice of the cake, despite their cultural and creative wealth, it added. 

“One of the objectives is to raise the level of awareness about the importance for developing countries of creative industries,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero said. 

“We wish to use to that goal the experience of Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, which have set up the best public policies to support these industries,” he said. 

The agency promoting English language culture, the British Council, and the organisation grouping French speaking nations, the Francophonie, also took part in an inaugural meeting in Geneva alongside other international agencies and Brazil's Culture Minister, musician Gilberto Gil. 

The International Forum on Creative Industries is meant to tap the best experiences in order to help governments in developing countries harness the economic value of their creative sector, and avoid the pitfalls. 

Ricupero cited income tax exemption for artists in Ireland or incentives for the film industry in New Zealand. 

Successful examples in larger developing countries include the US$5.3bil (RM20.1bil) generated by entertainment industry copyright and exports in Brazil, or India's $4.3bil (RM16.3bil) “Bollywood” film industry. – AFP  

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