Creativity is Jamaica’s Competitive Advantage: Jamaica Must Take Its Creative Industries Seriously Now

Jamaica Trade and Invest (JAMPRO) launched a new study yesterday on the enormous potential of Jamaica’s creative industries. The Economic Impact Study on Jamaica’s Film, Animation and Music (FAM) Industries was conducted by Dr Noel Watson and the team at A-Z Information Jamaica.

Among the eye-popping stats:

  • The FAM Industries contribute 6% of GDP; more than mining and quarrying (1.8%), water and electricity (2.9%) and hotels and restaurants (4%).
  • More than 3% of the country’s workforce is employed in the creative industries
  • Sound systems alone contribute JMD 40 billion and 1450 jobs
  • The sector has significant export potential — regional and non-US markets are under-served

“The creative economy is Jamaica’s competitive advantage,” says Renee Robinson, Film Commissioner. “Creatives will future-proof this country.”

And yet, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to unlock our individual and collective creative potential.

Dr Watson’s recommends:

  • Develop reggae parks and parish facilities to foster local performances
  • Provide training and development to upcoming artistes
  • Support dialogue between FAM practitioners and government to enhance trust
  • Maintain current data on FAM industries
  • Foster and reward creativity and do not tax creativity
  • Increase local consumption
  • Customs duty exemptions/waivers on imported equipment
  • Encourage international creatives to come to JA for collaboration and for the multiplier effect

Some of these are disappointingly vague. And in limiting the scope to the FAM sectors, the study ignores the massive potential of other creative sectors, including literature and publishing. But there’s more the works: the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the UNESCO will be conducting an economic assessment impact of the cultural and creative industries and designing a statistical system for data collection in collaboration with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).

Yes, more studies.

In the meantime, creatives will continue making magic and meaning. And hopefully, more money.

For further details on the study, visit JAMPRO’s website, dobusinessjamaica.com.

This post was created with Typeshare

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