One of the biggest events, if not the biggest, dedicated to technology, the Africa Tech festival is the place where innovation and inspiration serve the future of the African technology industry. It is being held this year from November 13 to 16, 2023, in Cape Town. For a week, actors from all sides will come together to think together, evaluate and evolve on several subjects. Among them, the creative cultural industries. An increasingly dynamic sector with many opportunities, even if significant challenges must be met for better performance. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutierres recalled this during the inaugural meeting of the Global African Business Initiative last September in New York. For him, “the time has come to recognize the emergence of African creative and cultural industries on the world stage”. Encompassing architecture, books, the press, audiovisual, radio, advertising, video games, music, performing arts and visual arts...the global ICCs represented until the recent past, a market almost 1.1 trillion dollars and Africa only represents around 1%. The reason, according to Aly Fall, one of the pillars of urban cultures in Senegal, is that most of the time, the cultural and creative industries are informal and take very little into account the real economic issues.
A market that generates 2,300 billion US dollars
Even if it is embryonic in certain countries, the cultural and creative industries sector remains a market with very high potential. According to Dr Nicolas Ozor, Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network, CCIs generate a global income of US$2.3 trillion and employ 30 million people. But in this impressive figure, Africa only contributes 4.2 billion US dollars and 2.4 million jobs on the continent. Hence the importance in his eyes of encouraging public and private partnerships to strengthen human capacities, invest in infrastructure, such as software...Having understood that the ICCs had great potential, the African Import Bank- Export (Afreximbank), has released an envelope of 500 million US dollars to support the production and trade of African cultural and creative products. According to its President, Professor Benedict Oramah, CCIs are recognized as a significant contributor to Africa's gross domestic product and that the industry today contributes to economic growth by promoting more inclusive, connected and collaborative societies. “Creative industries can be powerful vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies,” he said.
Technology to boost the sector
According to specialists, the involvement of technology in the development of cultural and creative industries (CCI) would be a real asset. For example, they say, in addition to cinema, with technological innovation, the video game industry is experiencing a real boom. In fact, this industry is expected to grow by 12% between 2020 and 2025. This is why we are increasingly talking about digital ICCs. Alongside this, the increasingly popular electronic sale of works of art has meant that players are now talking about digital creative industries. For Rasha Negm, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, CCIs can benefit from the transformation that the world of financial technology is experiencing with new creative solutions. Today, she says, many consumers use their phones to do business online and the fact that digitalization produces such simple solutions is rewarding for young people and should benefit ICCs. “Thanks to digital technology, the cultural and creative sector has an accelerator to promote the creation of economic opportunities,” she said.
In Ivory Coast, ICCs mobilize 8% of the active population and generate more than 4% of GDP with sectors such as cinema, video games, animation, publishing, etc.