The creative industry creates a ripple effect that benefits other industries - Courtesy of Think Marketing website The creative industry creates a ripple effect that benefits other industries - Courtesy of Think Marketing website

How creative people are shaping world’s economy

Fri, Jan. 26, 2018
CAIRO - 26 January 2018: Creative people, or “starving artists”, have built a reputation for having little-to-no money. These writers, painters, musicians or other creative individuals are assumed to do what they love without making much money… unless, they make it big.

Interestingly, these creative people seem to actually be one of the growing global industries, according to the Australian government’s Creative Industries Innovation Center report “Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries” (2013). This view has also been seconded by a 2015 United Nations (U.N.) report titled “Creative Economy Outlook and Country Profiles: Trends in international trade in creative industries”.

Today, the creative industry contributes $2.25 billion to the world’s economy, constituting three percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), more than any other traditional industry group, according to the World Creative website. The industry also holds 29.5 million jobs worldwide, making it one of the largest job-offering fields. In Australia, for example, according to the 2013 report aforementioned, the creative industry represents 6.2 percent of total Australian employment, and employment in the industry is growing 40 percent faster than the Australian economy as a whole.

Starving artists no more, it would seem.



Interestingly, creative people are not just about art. Coined by John Howkins in 2001, the British author used the term to describe any field that involves creativity or innovation to solve a problem or create something. Applying that definition, one would find that the industry also includes research, development, services and software development, as well as many more industries.

Still, if one assesses the creative industry as artists, painters, poets, writers and the media, one will find that the industry has been increasingly shaping the Egyptian economy. The 2015 U.N. report mentioned before revealed that, between 2003 and 2012, Egypt played an important role in the region’s arts and music industry through importing and exporting creative industry-related goods.

Most prominently, between 2003 and 2012, Egypt exported goods valued at $11.52 million to and imported goods valued at $0.06 million from Algeria. During the same period, Egypt also exported goods worth $9.58 million to and imported goods worth $4.39 million from Saudi Arabia.

Since 2011, the creative industry saw a bloom, as artists were inspired by the 2011 Revolution. This led to an increased contribution from the industry to the country’s GDP through concerts, plays, fashion shows and exhibitions. Some of these events have even, impressively, led tourists to come to Egypt just to see them.

For example, “Eternal Light. Something Old, Something New,” run by Art D'Egypte founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, was an exhibition held at the Egyptian Museum that gained much attention, leading to some flying in from outside Egypt to attend the event. The exhibition displayed 16 artworks by Egypt’s most prominent contemporary artists, creating a wonderful contrast against the timeless backdrop of artifacts within the museum. The displayed pieces were influenced by ancient Egypt’s art and artists, like Mohamed Abla.



More socially, the creative industry is able to generate profits for other business due to its ripple effect. To put this in context, imagine you read in the paper or online that the Sawy Culture Wheel or the Opera House are holding a poem night or concert that you have been wanting to hear, so you consult with friends, family members or your significant others to get someone to go with you, as most people would not want to go alone.

Instead of buying one seat, you end up buying at least two, meaning the industry profits more, but that is not all.

You will then need to get some sort of transportation, perhaps a taxi or maybe take the metro, meaning you contribute to the transportation sector.

Then, if you have kids, you may need a babysitter. If you decide not to pay for a babysitter and end up sending your kids to relatives, you will probably bribe them into behaving well, meaning you will spend money on candy, a small toy or some kind of activity for them. This leaves you contributing to the childcare sector or to some other sector depending on the route chosen.

Now that the kids are sorted, you may go for coffee or a meal, meaning you contribute to the hospitality sector.

And if you do not have kids, you will probably still make a night out of it, after all, why wouldn’t you do more?

Between transportation, hospitality, childcare, and so on, you have spent a good amount of money on a blast of a day, while also contributing to the country’s economy without realizing. All because you decided to go to a play, a concert, an exhibition, or many more events and workshops that are run by the creative industry.



The point is that the creative industryis a boon to our economy, and all other economies, as well as the global economy. Recently, there has been a move to make the creative industry more formal through the launch of the Creative Industry Summit in 2014. Organised by Idea Bakers and The Worx, leaders in event organizing and e-marketing, the summit focused on the latest developments in the advertising, marketing and design fields in Egypt and the Arab world in general.

By having experts from foreign and Arab countries share the different projects that they are taking part in and the most prominent ones they have heard of, the summit aims to enrich the creative thinking of participants in order to develop their capabilities and ensure they are keeping up with the fast-paced changing field.

In an interview with Think Marketing magazine, Amr Ashraf, founding partner of the Creative Industry Summit, stated, “The summit is the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East. It aims to discuss the most important developments in the creative industry, prepare participants for these developments and enable them to benefit their businesses.”

“The summit mainly targets six key areas, namely advertising and marketing, art and design, film, radio and television, photography, business innovation, and music. We aim to develop creative industries by putting forth new and innovative ideas in these fields,” added Mai Salama, founding partner of the Creative Industry Summit.
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