Creative economies contributes to development objectives – UNDP

07 Aug 2006

Kigali, 07 August 2006: The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports in collaboration with the World Culture Open and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday organized an international Conference on creative economies for development at Intercontinental Hotel in Kigali. Creative economy can be defined as being the economy which encompasses the links ranging from the artistic to the economic that connect creators with their creations- is today estimated at 7 percent of world GDP, amounting to approximately US$ 3 trillion. The importance of creative economies was highlighted a day before by President Paul Kagame at the launch of the African Festival for Dance (FESPAD) where he said “we must undergo a mind shift to one in which Africa’s artists are seen as entrepreneurs able to create wealth for themselves, their families, their communities and their countries. The current realities whereby talented people remain largely marginalised and live on the fringe of society is a waste of vital human and financial capital”. For the President, enabling the cultural industry to create wealth and employment is not fantasy but a genuine pathway for defeating underdevelopment in key niches of national economies, including book publication, cinema, music, dance, drama and fine arts. “All these fields have immense potential for contributing to cultural, social and economic transformation”, said the President.

Opening the conference, the Prime Minister of Rwanda, the Right Honorable Prime Minister Bernard Makuza who was also the guest of honour, insisted on the importance of culture in the development of countries. ” Any economy for development can have as basis only the dynamic process of exchange of ideas and significances between the people and the various cultures”, he said on the occasion.

The UNDP Administrator, Mr. Kemal Dervis, explains that creativity makes a significant contribution to the development of Africa. “Here in Rwanda, we are witnessing the flourishing of a new era of creativity which is both an inspiration and an encouragement to us all to further nurture innovation in both creative and commercial endeavors. Throughout the African Diaspora, cultural creativity is making an important contribution to development”, he said in his message to the participants of the conference.

Creativity is a source of wealth, a means of generating employment, and a significant factor in reducing poverty, especially within the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, recognizes UNDP.
The Minister of youth Culture and Sport, Joseph Habineza, insisted on the role played by innovation and creativity in economic development. He also emphasized the importance of ICT and called upon the youth to take advantage of the new technologies to promote their activities.

For the UNDP Rwanda Officer in Charge, John O. Kakonge, the conference served as a forum to examine market mechanisms, share knowledge and network and was also a chance to strengthen artistic expression, celebrate cultural heritage and honour value systems – all of which are powerful catalysts in the continuing quest for peaceful, tolerant and equitable societies.

In its efforts to channel creative “intangibles” into development “tangibles” across the Global South, UNDP aims to help developing countries to further capitalize on the creative economy. This international Conference was organized through partnerships with institutions such as the World Culture Open, the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, the government of Rwanda and events such as FESPAD.