In today’s information economy, knowledge and creativity are fast becoming powerful engines driving economic growth. This will have profound implications for trade and development. For advanced industrial economies, the information economy is already a leading edge from which national wealth flows and a key to improving competitiveness.
Globally, creative industries are estimated to account for more than 7 per cent (7%) of the world’s gross domestic product and are forecast to grow, on average, by 10 per cent a year. While the economic and employment-generating potential of these industries is vast and many developing and transition countries have great potential in this area, most are still marginal players, despite their rich cultural heritage and an inexhaustible pool of talent.
That position reflects a combination of domestic policy weaknesses and global systemic biases. On-going research by the UNCTAD secretariat has emphasized the potential of these industries in developing countries. Creativity, more than labour and capital, or even traditional technologies, is deeply embedded in every country’s cultural context.
Excellence in artistic expression, abundance of talent, and openness to new influences and experimentation are not the privilege of rich countries. With effective nurturing, these sources of creativity can open up new opportunities for developing countries to increase their shares of world trade and to “leap-frog” into new areas of wealth creation.
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