South African Cultural Observatory

Executive Direction - March 2022

BY 05.04.22

This edition of The Cultural Observer is published during an interesting but complex international environment. While on the positive side the world has seen Covid-19 infections numbers subside, we are witnessing a war that has a devasting impact to the world economy. As I write President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the end of the National State of Disaster and with that the lifting or easing of Covid-19 associated restrictions that hampered almost all industry activities since 2020. The war between Russia and Ukraine has brought a new dimension to the world economy. Many economies have been feeling the brunt of rising prices of commodities with significant links to Russia and Ukraine. All of this is happening while the CCIs were gearing themselves for full economic recovery. The end of the National State Disaster is good for the industry but the rising prices could have a negative impact.

It is important that in the mist of this complexity we find a balance that is tilted in favour of industry recovery from Covid-19 which I advocated for in the last edition. The research that we undertake at the South African Cultural Observatory should become an important tool as we sift through this maze. It should help the industry understand opportunities that can be exploited and what challenges exist and how they can be tackled as we embark on the recovery journey.

Coincidently, last week we published our key industry report, the bi-annual Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa 2022. Simply referred to as the CCI Mapping Study, this research is SACO’s flagship report and the most definitive and authoritative economic study for the industry in South Africa. From it we can determine the macroeconomic contribution of the sector to the country’s GDP, including information on which cultural domains have increased or reduced in size and growth rate.

In this publication we have chosen to focus on this report to highlight some key aspects contained in the study and I would like to invite the industry and all stakeholders to make time to read the report in its detail, consider implications of the findings and make informed decisions.

We have learnt from this report that the size of the CCIs sector is almost as big as the agricultural sector contributing about 3% to the country’s GDP, employing over a 1 million people and showing a trade surplus in almost 20 years.

Another exciting part of the report for me is the analysis of each province contributes to South Africa’s creative economy. Three provinces dominate the industry’s economic activity - Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN with a combined contribution of over 60%. This information should assist policy makers about which provinces to prioritise and arm the industry with information about where market opportunities lie.

Once more I appeal to cultural practitioners and industry at large to use the CCI Mapping Study 2022 extensively to decipher useful insights that should inform both commercial and policy decisions.

Until then,

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I am hopeful that as you read this edition of The Cultural Observer you are warm as this winter has been very chilly, with temperatures plummeting to close to zero degrees in some parts of the country.

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