Bots turns to creativity and culture to boost GDP

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Mpho Tebele

Gaborone - The creative industries, which includes performing arts, visual arts and cultural tourism activities, is not only proving to be a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, but is also contributing to Botswana’s GDP.

This was revealed by the Minister responsible for Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, when tabling his ministry’s budget estimates in parliament this week.

“Culture and creative industries have emerged as major contributors to the economies of nations by providing job opportunities and contributing to GDP,” he said.

 Revealing that the creative industries account for 5.46 percent of the county’s GDP, Rakgare noted that Botswana could do with improved regulation and increased investment.

He cited the annual President’s Day competitions that are held across the country which are aimed at preserving and promoting Botswana’s culture and unearthing artistic talent. Rakgare said as part of promoting cultural tourism, the ministry administers a small arts and culture grant that aims to provide financial assistance to artists.

“In the 2019/2020 financial year, 7 386 331.24 million pula was spent on the procurement of local arts and crafts to enable artists to realise an economic gain from their works. The ministry also promotes cultural exchange programmes through which 86 Batswana artists had participated in cultural tourism activities at a total cost of 106 057.75 million pula,” he said.

Rakgare also revealed that as part of government’s efforts to cultivate the ground for a thriving and vibrant creative sector, cabinet had approved the establishment of the National Arts Council. “My ministry is also reviewing the Cinematographic Act of 1970 to establish appropriate structures for regulation and the development of the film industry,” he said.

He said plans were underway to construct a state theatre as well as part of the development of cultural infrastructure programmes. Rakgare said at least P5 million will be set aside for the project which entails engaging a transaction advisor for implementation through a Public Private Partnership model. The minister said during this financial year, a state-run youthful television channel, dubbed NOW TV, procured content valued at P40 872 178.37 from local producers, mostly the youths.

According to a 2013 report by the United Nations, world trade of creative goods and services totalled a record of US$624 billion in 2011 and more than doubled from 2002 to 2011. At the same time, creativity and culture also had a significant non-monetary value that contributes to inclusive social development, to dialogue and understanding between peoples. 

The report says while creating jobs, creative economy contributes to the overall well-being of communities, individual self-esteem and quality of life, thus achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

“At a time when the world is shaping a new post-2015 global development agenda, we must recognise the importance and power of the cultural and creative sectors as engines of that development,” the report says.

 

 

 

 

 

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