The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has embarked on a US$72,000 project to strengthen the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in Jamaica.
CCIs can be defined as those industries whose activities are based on cultural values or other artistic individual or collective creative expressions.
Titled ‘UNESCO JAM NSS CCI – Economic and Social Impact of Jamaica’s Cultural and Creative Industries’, the project is geared towards validating the country’s CCIs through Economic Impact Assessments (EIA) and the National Statistical System (NSS).
The project came about as a result of a mapping survey that was conducted by the JBDC in 2020 to garner much-needed information about the industry.
The survey gathered data from 550 CCI stakeholders, the findings of which revealed that one of the most significant opportunities for achieving growth and increased revenue for the industry was by improving market development and sales.
“Another critical thing that came out of that mapping was that vexed issue of data as it relates to its collection, analysis and utilisation that is specific to the creative industries,” said the JBDC’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Harold Davis, who was addressing a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank session on Wednesday, January 11.
Mr. Davis noted that there was also the need for information about the specific value of CCIs, the number of persons employed within the industry and the value of their contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which influenced the decision to embark on the project.
Among the key objectives are to develop a comprehensive profile of Jamaica’s CCIs, to measure their economic contribution and to identify recommendations and strategies for the development of key sectors within the industry.
To achieve these objectives, Mr. Davis informed that “we are doing an EIA of the creative industries, which will give us a specific value of the industry. It will also give us sub-data on the value and importance of social development and provide specific recommendations for the sector as well”.
He highlighted that “it is important that we begin to formally understand the sector and its contribution to GDP because if you can’t measure the particular product or industry, it will be difficult to map it’s progress, assess its return on investment and know how to even invest in these industries”.
“It is, therefore, our goal, through the United Kingdom system and other systems, to be able to understand the value of the CCIs on an ongoing basis,” Mr. Davis shared.
For this project, the JBDC has partnered with several key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) and international firm Nordicity, which has been contracted to provide consultancy services.
Mr. Davis said that “the support of all the stakeholders is invaluable to the project”, noting that “all CCI practitioners are on the ground and are excited about making this happen”.
“The JBDC has been involved with Jamaica’s CCIs since the agency’s inception in 2001 and is focused on this industry, in particular, because our core mandate has to do with the development of entrepreneurs. So, we are about developing strong, scalable, successful and creative businesses and entrepreneurs”, said Mr. Davis.
For her part, Director of the Economic Accounting Division at STATIN, Paula Jackson, said that the entity is pleased to be partnering with the JBDC and the other partners in measuring the CCI, which she noted “is a very important part of the economy”.
Speaking about the role of STATIN in the undertaking, Ms. Jackson explained that the agency will provide guidance as it relates to the capture and compilation of the data.
“When we are looking at the data, we will be looking at GDP and we will be looking at it from the production side. We have to look at the activities that we are measuring based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) framework for statistics, which outlines the things that are to be measured,” Ms. Jackson said.
“It is something that our stakeholders have been asking us about, so we happy for this project and where it has reached, so far,” she added.
Ms. Jackson noted that “STATIN also has to map the various creative industries and their activities with the Jamaica Industrial Classification, which is patterned off of the international standard, as the various CCIs would fall under different sections in the classification”.
She noted, further, that it is important for persons, when asked to provide specific information, to ensure that it is detailed so that the data can be accurately measured.