Why does South Africa need art? Considering market strategies for the growth of the creative economy.

A roundtable discussion with Bielle Bellingham (Decorex), Urs May (Swiss business expert), Mpumelelo Ngewu (Publicis Worldwide). Moderator: Alexandre Tilmans (Baz-Art)

The aim of this session was to explore the role of the creative economy in SA and its potential for inclusive development.

“There is a clear argument to be made that South Africa’s creative economy should be part of any high-value growth strategy. There is evidence of potential expansion in the industry and globally robust growth in demand. The creative economy has the potential to assist in realising the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). In 2020, South Africa’s creative economy contributed 2.97% of the country’s overall GDP with an estimated gross value added (GVA) of R121 billion; evidently making the Creative and Cultural Industry (CCIs) approximately the same size as agriculture.” Alexandre Tilmans

Some of the key takeouts included:

To stimulate the creative economy, South Africa can adopt various market strategies, including:

1. Developing policies and infrastructure to support the creative economy, including funding, tax incentives, and access to affordable workspace.

2. Promoting local artists and their work through exhibitions, festivals, and other cultural events.

3. Investing in art education and training to develop a skilled workforce for the creative economy.

4. Encouraging collaboration and partnerships between artists, businesses, and other stakeholders to foster innovation and growth.

By investing in art and the creative economy, South Africa can achieve economic growth, social cohesion, and cultural preservation, while also promoting education and tourism.

Why does South Africa need art?

To stimulate the creative economy, South Africa can adopt various market strategies, including:

1. Cultural Identity: Art provides a means for expressing and celebrating South Africa's diverse cultural heritage. It helps preserve the country's unique identity and history.

2. Economic Development: The creative economy has the potential to generate significant economic growth and job creation. Art is an integral part of the creative economy, and investing in it can have a positive impact on the country's economy.

3. Social Cohesion: Art can bring people together and foster social cohesion. It can create a sense of community and contribute to a shared national identity.

4. Education: Art education can help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in many industries.

5. Tourism: South Africa has a rich cultural heritage, and art can be a significant draw for tourists. Investing in the arts can help attract more visitors to the country.