Africa The Time is Now

Africa The Time is Now!

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I am bringing this beauty back because it still is so relevant since we still are in 2021, you know!! Haha! HAPPY MID-YEAR!!! I hope your first half of the year is going splendid.

However, as we are ending the first half of 2021. I am so excited to share something with you. This year, yes this year 2021, the United Nations has designated the whole year as the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

According to UNCTAD, In 2019 at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, 2021 was declared the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.It encourages all to observe the year in accordance with national priorities to raise awareness, promote cooperation and networking, encourage sharing best practices and experiences, enhance human resource capacity, promote an enabling environment at all levels as well as tackle the challenges of the creative economy. 

There will be a number of activities over the course of the year that will push forth this agenda. This can be found on the below link.

Credit: UNCTAD

Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way

Edward De Bono

Creative Economy

Wooohhhoo… if you have been following me or not, you will know that I am absolutely over the top passionate about the creative economy. I breathe, eat and live the creative economy so to have the United Nations see the full potential of the creative economy especially in the developing economies and designate an entire year towards it makes me so excited.

I guess some of you are wondering what the whole hullabaloo over the creative economy is all about. Well,let me enlighten you.

The creative economy has no single definition. It is an evolving concept which builds on the interplay between human creativity and ideas and intellectual property, knowledge and technology. Essentially it is the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the ‘creative industries’ are based.

The creative industries definition from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is: ‘Those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’

The creative industries – which include advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research & development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and TV/radio – are the lifeblood of the creative economy. They are also considered an important source of commercial and cultural value.

The creative economy is the sum of all the parts of the creative industries, including trade, labour and production. Today, the creative industries are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy providing new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas of the world economy.

John Howkins, the father of the creative economy-seriously He birthed that name way back in the 90’s says,” The creative economy is Economic systems where value is based on imaginative qualities rather than the traditional resources of land, labour and capital. Compared to creative industries, which are limited to specific sectors, the term is used to describe creativity throughout a whole economy.”

It is sometimes said that where oil was the primary fuel of the 20th century economy, creativity is the fuel of the 21st century. 

Africa the time is now
Credit: Quartz

Creative Industries

It should be noted that the creative industries has a plethora of classifications due to its vastness but for the purpose of this article and the fact the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has taken the lead on it, we will be using the UNCTAD classification

It is interesting to note that the different sectors in the creative industries link with each other and sometimes merge making these industries dynamic with a potential to expand beyond our wildest dreams. Ideas are limitless thus it can go on and on.

Father John Howkins believes “Creativity is a generative process of creation, exploration and innovation – using ideas to generate new ideas endlessly. The global creative economy is an open, inclusive landscape where different regions of the world bring their own cultural values to the shared table. It is a melting pot of distinct, unique identities and the creative economy can only benefit from this ‘cornucopia of knowledge and immense talent’.

Credit: Research Gate

Why the Creative Economy?

So why the hullabaloo over the creative economy? What is it about it that has everyone gaga trying to build it to new levels?

According to Lumec South Africa, the creative economy has cultural benefits, creates economic value and demonstrates relative resilience to external shocks over other industries as evidenced by its continued growth in the past 20 years.

Creatives such as artists play a role in preserving the history of areas, foster diversity in terms of culture, race, age and encourage social cohesion because their expressions tend to bring people together and build communities. Furthermore, the arts play an important role in helping individuals and countries shape their identities. 

Globally, the creative and cultural industries(CCI) is driven by television and visual arts in terms of revenue generation, which is the same as trends in Africa and the Middle East. Technology is an integral part of CCIs in the global market because much of the content for the digital economy is generated by these industries. Examples of this include the consumption of videos and movies, music and books on digital platforms as well as online and mobile games. 

CCIs are also important for employment, however, the benefits of the creative economy are heavily concentrated in North America, Asia and the Pacific as well as Europe, both in terms of revenue and employment. For instance, the creative industries in the United Kingdom (UK) have experienced growth at twice the rate of the national economy since 2010 and exceeded the £100 billion mark (£101.5 billion) in 2017. 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggest several strategies for countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East to explore in order to make the most of opportunities presented by the creative economy and promote growth. Briefly, the UNDP suggests that countries should integrate CCI opportunities into their national strategies, policies and budgets; enhance the protection of intellectual property rights; improve regional ties; develop, retain and attract human capital required for CCIs

Cultural and creative industries have become a vital force in accelerating human development. They empower people to take ownership of their own development and stimulate the innovation that can drive inclusive sustainable growth. If well-nurtured, the creative economy can be a source of structural economic transformation, socio-economic progress, job creation and innovation while contributing to social inclusion and sustainable human development.

With COVID-19 before us having ravaged many an economy, the creative economy has the power to revitalize various economies. It has been evidenced especially in Africa where people have come up with new ideas of business. For example, In Uganda, most businesses have gone online harnessing the power of the internet which was not the case before Covid-19 and its subsequent lockdowns. It would do good for nations to see the creative economy as a vital part of their Covid-19 recovery plans.

Credit: UN

Listen to your God, this is our motto Your time to shine, don’t wait in line Y vamos por todo People are raising their expectations Go on and feed them, this is your moment No hesitations Today’s your day, I feel it You paved the way, believe it If you get down, get up, oh oh When you get down, get up, eh eh Tsamina mina zangalewa This time for Africa

Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)~ Shakira

Africa The Time Is Now

As a Creative in various creative sectors, it was difficult to explain myself to family and friends about what exactly I do. The words,” Get a real job” came too often and to be honest, we as creatives are partially to blame. We have not truly understood what we are all about and the impact we can have if we work together to build a cohesive, professional and creative system.

Understandably, the creative economy is a somewhat new concept in the world but now is the time for it to shine especially in Africa. Now is the time for creatives the continent over to rise up and shine the light on the creative economy and its immense potential.

The call is out! Are you willing to stand up and rewrite the narrative of the creative economy in Africa? Are you going to stand up and stand out?? A new year is before us. A new decade is before us. Creatives, arise and shine your light!

May 2030 arrive upon us with the narrative of the creative economy rewritten and rebranded. Where creatives- we are all creatives but in this case, I mean people working in the creative industries have banded together and developed it for the sustainable development of Africa.

One way you can do this is by clicking on the link below for The UNCTAD Creative Economy Network . This is a platform for those interested in developing the creative economies of all nations, everywhere. It is a network of people and organizations from around the world who share information, collaborate, and offer insight into their creative economies, industries and research into this exciting contributor to the global economy.

We all have a role to play in changing our continent and the best thing is we don’t have to look far off. We just have to look within us and tap the creativity within us. We can create and recreate the future of Africa. Yes, we can!! Say it with me,” I am a Creator! This is Me!” 






It is Day 4 of Business and Technology Week of the Afrobloggers Digital Storytelling Festival. Have you heard of the creative economy and the year dedicated to it? What role are you playing? Africa, The Time is Now

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About the author

Kajambo, Hello Everyone! Let me tell you a little bit about myself..... I am a multi-passionate Creative Storypreneur, Designer, Creative Consultant and Creativity Coach with a mission to inspire and empower creators- individuals and brands to embrace their stories to unlock their creative potential to design their authentic, purpose-driven brands. I am also the Founder and Creative Director of This is Me!, a digital platform that takes on the role of bringing my mission to life. I love color and all things creative! Well, This is me!

7 thoughts on “Africa The Time is Now!”

  1. Pingback: Pick Up Your Weapon - This is Me!

  2. Very informative post. Thank you for this because as a creative it is hard to explain what you do to family and they become confused, thinking it’s a hobby. The creative economy is about to blow up in Africa and I am here for it.

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