Utilise creative economy to bolster development goals

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua affirmed the Government’s commitment to utilize the creative economy by providing opportunities to harness the talent and creativity of young people.

This news hits home just as the work environment is witnessing a major shift from traditional modes of employment to alternative forms of work best suited to individual interests, hobbies and passions often in line with the creative economy.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) labels the creative economy as one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy and highly transformative in terms of income generation.

Indeed, the creative economy, as noted by the Deputy President has morphed from being solely regarded as means of leisure to earning its place as a significant and profitable means of work.

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As it stands, the impact of some of these economies is noteworthy given the recent G20 insights which portend the global valuation of creative economies to peak by $985 billion in 2023 and contribute 10 per cent to the overall GDP by 2030.

With this in mind, how then can our own economy be poised to take full advantage of the creative industry and its pool of talented youth?

A great start would be to effectively implement policies and regulations keen on bolstering the creative industry with an apt example of the introduction of the Digital Superhighway and Digital creative Economy by the newly inaugurated Government.

Although its mandate is yet to be laid out, the policy shows great promise of protection and preservation of intellectual property, trademarks & copyright of artists from exploitation.

For example, when internet platforms split the revenue with creators, the latter tends to wind up with the shortest end of the stick.

All this is not to refute the integral role internet and technology at large have played to generate new sources of income while subsequently providing platforms where artists share their work.

It also explains why a 2019 report by World Economic Forum (WEF) indicated that digital subscription services in the creative economy in the music industry are set to triple on the back of growing consumer demand.

Such platforms are vital as they promote research, enable the exchange of ideas and act as vehicles of growth by encouraging constructive criticism from peers and audiences alike.

More importantly, the coming together of both established and aspiring artists made possible by technology, provides room for mentorship, financial facilitation and creative guidance not to mention reaching into new audiences.

This in turn begs the question of how much more we stand to gain collectively if the Government were to establish physical creative hubs in various parts of the country.

These centers will serve as sources of highly skilled and diverse artists to teach and aid in the preservation of indigenous art for our benefit of the creative economy and posterity as well.

Already, Nairobi Governor, Johnson Sakaja has introduced the annual Nairobi Festival with the intent to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the city. This underscores the importance of an artist at the helm of leadership as only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches most.

It was also encouraging to see the Deputy President acknowledge successful artists the likes of Charles Kanyi also known as Jaguar, Vincent Mwasia renowned as Chipukeezy and John Kiarie as they serve to encourage more participants to pursue careers in art.

Equally impressive is the Government’s initiative to liaise with key stakeholders in the Education sector to facilitate reforms.

In his speech on Friday, Gachagua urged Kenyans including leaders, parents and educators to lend their opinions to the task force put together to advise on key areas of improvement.

Perhaps this is a ripe opportunity to one, integrate art courses into the main curriculum which in turn enables learners to identify and polish their inherent abilities from an early age, arming them with a competitive advantage in the global market.

Secondly, ump funding to institutions of learning and art programs to build local capacity.

Better yet invest in infrastructure by way of ensuring broad internet connectivity to enable better access to emerging local and international markets in the creative economy.

The creative economy has great career prospects that Kenya can leverage to sustain the livelihoods of the many talented youths and bolster Kenya’s development goals which will likely translate to a more productive and healthy population.

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