THE Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), as it continues to throw support behind the growth and development of local entrepreneurs, said it is anxiously awaiting completion of a much-needed policy framework that is to coordinate operations within the cultural and creative industries (CCIs).
Speaking at a Jamaica Observer Business Forum held recently, chief executive officer (CEO) of the JBDC Valerie Veira said that the delivery of a formal Act was urgently needed to further propel the globally lucrative and growing sector forward.
“The creative industry is now a hot cookie in our shop. We have done some mapping and have also been doing some work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to get a framework in place. From the data available, it will be used to influence better policy developments to support the sector whose activities go way beyond the dance, music, art and other creative activities.
“We are very anxious for this policy as this industry, for us, represents one of the core outlets that can be used to take advantage of the natural, God-given talent — and we believe that much more benefit for economic development can come from the sector,” Veira said, noting that it is the creation of a comprehensive policy and framework that will help to also formalise and guide activities across the various segments.
A mapping of the industry by the JBDC, which polled about 550 creative entrepreneurs in 2020, found that CCIs — which contribute approximately 5.2 per cent of GDP and revenues of some $2.2 billion annually — would be better positioned for growth if proper legislation to govern the creative economy, along with the creation of an enabling framework, is officially established.
Minister of Culture Olivia “Babsy” Grange, in responding to calls earlier this year which clamoured for a speeding up of the process to deliver the required policy amid fallouts suffered by the sector during the novel coronavirus pandemic, said that owing to a high level of technical support now being received by international funding partners such as the European Union/UNESCO, Jamaica was moving towards an advanced phase of formulation. This, she said, was as a result of a number of consultations done with international experts. Through a series of workshops held Grange said that her ministry was also working to develop and implement a comprehensive policy and legal framework for the entertainment, cultural and creative Industries (ECCIs).
Harold Davis, deputy CEO of the JBDC, also speaking at the forum said that owing to the high level of fragmented support for the industry, the need to have a unified backing was greatly required as these entities transition into the post-pandemic period.
“I know that the Ministry of Culture is currently in the process of drafting a Creative Industries Act but the work that we have done shows that there is a lot that needs to be done beyond the Act. This has to do with the development of the various industries which are not homogenous in their structures and operations. From the findings of our study these developments are needed to raise the possibility of earnings and the level of contribution to GDP,” he said.