Expert Speak India Matters
Published on Mar 30, 2023 Updated 24 Days ago
During its G20 presidency, India should engage with governments and policymakers and address the regulatory constraints faced by this sector to keep it afloat
Building a case for the creative economies of the Global South Hanging on your walls as art along with yoga and music, the early morning fix of a cuppa of tea and newspapers, Creative goods and services form an intrinsic part of our daily lives, ranging from the art that hangs on our walls to the music we choose to listen. Transcending beyond our physical realms they even populate our digital worlds through countless apps such as gaming and streaming platforms, connecting us with infrastructure that helps access live performances, trade and literary fairs and museums. Comprising knowledge-based economic activities that are coalesced into one to deliver a basket of cultural and creative products, the ‘creative economy’ is a powerhouse of human inventiveness and intellect. That being the case, it has adequate grounds to earn its popular sobriquet of the ‘orange economy’,. Often referenced as an independent stream within economics in the ’60s, such as in the works of William Baumol and William Bowen, it was John Howkins who is credited with drawing attention to the creative economy as the ‘business of ideas’, which according to a 2008 UN Survey report lies at the confluence of creativity, culture, economics and technology. The report further concluded that this sector has an enormous ability for innovation (in traditional crafts), generating social value (talent and knowledge building) and sustainability (through creating and circulating intellectual capital). These assets then power channels to generate income, support livelihoods and exports whilst promoting socially inclusive and resilient economies.
Comprising knowledge-based economic activities that are coalesced into one to deliver a basket of cultural and creative products, the ‘creative economy’ is a powerhouse of human inventiveness and intellect.
Consequently, the notion of the creative economy finally took a centre stage when the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) described creative economies as the sum total of all the components that make up for this industry including trade, labour, and production as a key driver of sustainable development. Deservingly so, as the sector is one of the most rapidly growing sectors, contributing 5-10 percent of global GDP. It generates over US$ 2.3 trillion annually, employing more people of ages between 15-29,  with women making up of nearly half of the workforce, unlike other sectors. With the UN declaring the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development in 2021, it managed to secure its rightful place on the global stage. However, despite these optimistic projections as one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors, the pandemic ruined its many micro-businesses, stripping off jobs from a total of 10 million workers globally in 2020. It abruptly halted the sector’s progress, earlier poised to bring in about 10 percent of the global domestic product by 2030. A recent study indicated that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME’s) were left more susceptible to negative shocks in their supply chains, labour supplies and in the final demand for goods and services than larger firms operating in this sector. Resuscitating this versatile sector becomes imperative as it comes with perks. There exist minimal entry barriers for employment in this sector and shows immense potential in generating jobs for the youth and for women at a time when jobs for the young are becoming scarce. In that regard, as the South-South trade begins to expand, the G20 can play an instrumental role in rallying together to extend support for the creative economy as a vehicle to propel future growth. Building a responsive and enabling ecosystem is an already emerging area in international dialogues such as the World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) in South-East Asia, adoption of Orange Economy in Latin America in their national development plans, and within the G20 member countries as well since the Saudi Arabian Presidency. For the G20 in 2023, India should take the lead as the torchbearer for this sector, carrying it forward from Indonesia which rightfully positioned it as an inclusive cross-sector phenomenon and inculcating the values of culture, economy and trade along with conserving heritage. With China, India, Türkiye , and Mexico being among a few of the top performing G20 member countries stimulating global trade in creative growth goods, this can prove to be game changer.
Building a responsive and enabling ecosystem is an already emerging area in international dialogues such as the World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) in South-East Asia, adoption of Orange Economy in Latin America in their national development plans, and within the G20 member countries as well since the Saudi Arabian Presidency.

Revival of the creative economy will be advantageous for India

Furthermore, India has enough reasons of its own to breathe new life into its creative sector. According to a UN report, India ranks among the top 10 countries in creative good exports and services that not only includes films and entertainment but also includes yoga, wellness, textiles, handicrafts, gastronomy, heritage tourism besides research and development. Estimated at about US$ 36.2 billion with a recent study indicating at an overall workforce of about 8.03 percent higher than the corresponding share in Türkiye (1 percent), Mexico (1.5 percent), South Korea (1.9 percent) and even that of Australia at (2.1 percent). It is also caters to livelihoods of the young within the age bracket of 15-29, demonstrating the exception capacity of the sector for generating future jobs. It also pointed that women took up a greater share (27.89 percent) in the creative business than in non-creative jobs. Performing exceptionally well in its share of global exports of creative goods and services with an increase of 1.9 percent to 5.5 percent from 2003-2012 it was deeply dented by the pandemic, took a big hit as well with a 39 percent from INR 500 crores in 2019-2020 to INR 304 crores in 2020-2021. Another reliable survey pointed out that MSMEs in India comprising about 80 percent of the creative economy were the worst hit during the pandemic along with those that operated in events and entertainment management services. All these trends then factor into India’s need to invest in human capital and creativity and formulate a uniform policy framework for the sector including defining and mapping, establishing creative hubs and channels, promoting digitalisation, addressing copyrighting, creating greater access to finance, and collaborating within G20 member states such as the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, France, South Korea, and Indonesia who have dedicated policy regulations and departments for the creative economies.

Creating a berth for creative economies during India’s G20 Presidency

Projected to reach a global valuation of US$ 985 billion by 2023 according to G20 Insights and poised to represent 10 percent of global GDP, G20 members have an opportunity to engage governments and policymakers to identify and address the roadblocks and regulatory constraints that have struggled to match up with the tempo of this rapidly booming sector. One clear example is the rise of digital entertainment markets have fuelled Over-the-Top Entertainment (OTT) and generated opportunities for influencers and social media creators. Incidentally, the global OTT market estimated at US$ 202.5 billion in 2022 is expected to reach US$434.5 billion over the next five years, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent. Experts have pointed that the capacity of this sector in generating new jobs will be vital as the global labour market adapts itself to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Exploring possible pathways to develop mutual digital platforms for creative artists across its many tiers of multimedia, animation, art, handicrafts and wellness with adequate access to skills acquisition should be well-crafted within the discussions.
As a stepping stone, building a consensus on an internationally acceptable definition of the creative economies could assist in formulating policies that ensure evidence-based policy making through institutionalised departments, improve access to finance and intellectual property rights, promote research and development and incubate a pipeline of creators with digital tools. The G20 countries could well collaborate on developing a ‘creative economic index’ that aid in assembling statistics, research and knowledge about this sector. Exploring possible pathways to develop mutual digital platforms for creative artists across its many tiers of multimedia, animation, art, handicrafts and wellness with adequate access to skills acquisition should be well-crafted within the discussions. These agenda can be then be strengthened further by guaranteeing protection of intellectual property rights through appropriate ecosystems. It is an unforgettable fact that as the global pandemic battered our lives, this very sector was instrumental in highlighting the significance of creative activities for conserving individual well-being, sustainability, and community resilience. On this very account, India must ensure that creative economies of the Global South and beyond have the chance to cross pollinate within its own global campaign of ‘Mission LiFe’ as well as in the G20 engagement groups like the C20, B20, G20 EMPOWER to forge partnerships for sustained dialogues, establishing knowledge management systems linking policymakers and experts to create a support system that ensures income for creators employed in this versatile sector.
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Author

Arundhatie Biswas

Arundhatie Biswas

Arundhatie Biswas, Ph.D is Senior Fellow at ORF. Her research traverses through multi-disciplinary research in international development with strong emphasis on the transformative approaches to ...

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