South African Cultural Observatory

SA’s cultural goods exports growing faster than imports – research

BY 26.02.18

A NEW report which set out to examine the growth and structure of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries trade between 2007 and 2016 has been released by cultural think tank, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO).

  • Cultural goods exports accounted for 0.46% of the country’s total commodity exports
  • ‘Cultural and Natural Heritage’ and ‘Books and Press’ are the most important cultural exports

The report highlights the need for a promotion of value-added trade in cultural goods and services, both with BRICS and other trading partners.

“International trade is an important driver of the economies of many African countries, and has the potential to create higher value-added employment. This report provides a clear understanding of the country’s cultural goods trade trends over the past decade,” said Prof Jen Snowball, SACO Chief Research Strategist, co-author of the report with Rhodes University trade expert, Nicolette Cattaneo.

The global data on the sectors is improving and the creative economy is now recognised as one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. World trade in creative goods and services more than doubled between 2002 and 2011 with an average annual growth rate 8.8%.

Although cultural trade is largely dominated by developed countries – with North America and Europe accounting for 49% of the world’s cultural exports – recent UNESCO reports have found that developing country export share in world trade grew steadily between 2002 and 2011 with an average annual growth of 12.1%.

They also found that world flows of cultural trade doubled between 2003 and 2014, despite the 2008/9 financial crisis which resulted in many countries suffering a recession.

“In South Africa, cultural goods exports accounted for 0.46% of the country’s total commodity exports in 2016, while cultural goods imports accounted for 0.66% of total commodity imports,” Cattaneo and Snowball said. 

Despite a significant slowdown in South Africa’s total cultural goods trade in 2015, in line with slower growth in the economy more broadly, there was evidence of a comfortable recovery in 2016, the report notes.

“Cultural goods exports grew faster than cultural goods imports for much of the post-crisis period, reducing the country’s trade imbalance in cultural goods markedly. The Visual Arts and Crafts domain was a significant driver of this trend,” Cattaneo and Snowball said.

“Visual Arts and Craft is a significant traded domain on both the export and import side in South Africa’s trade with its BRICS partners. On the export side, Cultural and Natural Heritage is an important domain, together with Books and Press. With respect to imports, Visual Crafts and Arts, Performance and Celebration, and Books and Press are significant domains”.

Although the report focused on cultural goods trade, it also emphasised that the role and significance of trade in cultural services is likely to increase with online digitisation affecting a number of CCI product categories.

“Since cultural services trade is likely to grow in relative importance under digitisation, better services trade data for the CCI sector is also needed to facilitate growth in this area,” Cattaneo and Snowball added.

A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports: A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports:

The SA Cultural Observatory continues to produce valuable reports that are aimed at empowering policy makers, decisions makers and the various industry stakeholders to make informed decisions on aspects that contribute in developing and growing the industry.

READ MORE
A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports: Book Policy And State Of SA Museums A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports: Book Policy And State Of SA Museums

The SA Cultural Observatory continues to produce valuable reports aimed at contributing towards the growth and development of the sector. In this newsletter, we highlight two of the most recent reports- Toward a South African Book Development Policy & Quantifying the State of South African Museums from a Supply Side Perspective.

READ MORE

Mapping the Economic Value of the Creative Industry Mapping the Economic Value of the Creative Industry

In many countries, the growing importance of the cultural and creative industries is increasingly being recognised. The SA Cultural Observatory recently released its second Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa 2020 (Economic Mapping Study).

READ MORE
Call to Curators – SA Cultural Observatory Researches Debates About The Repatriation Of Museum Artifacts Call to Curators – SA Cultural Observatory Researches Debates About The Repatriation Of Museum Artifacts

The debates about the restitution of museum artifacts taken from African countries, mostly during the colonial era, has a long history. However, it was brought to high prominence again recently by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who said, in an address to 800 students in Burkina Faso on 28th of November 2017: “I cannot accept that a large part of cultural heritage from several African countries is in France. There are historical explanations for that, but there are no valid justifications that are durable and unconditional”.

READ MORE

More News
International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021 International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021

Are you hosting an event, discussion, debate, conference or any other celebratory happening to mark the UN's 2021 International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development? Let us know about it and we will add it to our database of events happening throughout the year. Your event will also be logged in our report to the United Nations General Assembly.

Futures & Beyond - Where creativity & 4IR meet Futures & Beyond - Where creativity & 4IR meet

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), in partnership with Andani.Africa, a creative industries research and insights company, proudly launches the inaugural Futures & Beyond Forum planned for 16 and 17 March 2021. The first of its kind in Africa, the Forum is a gathering of leading minds in the arts and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Forum aims to start a conversation on the role of the creative industries in the continent’s future and the development of Africa-led strategies for creativity and innovation in technology.

Online Audience Survey Intro Online Audience Survey Intro

Many cultural organisations and events have moved online as a way of reaching audiences during COVID-19 lockdown- tell us how you experienced this shift.

A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports: A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports:

The SA Cultural Observatory continues to produce valuable reports that are aimed at empowering policy makers, decisions makers and the various industry stakeholders to make informed decisions on aspects that contribute in developing and growing the industry.

African Music Vol 11,2 now available online African Music Vol 11,2 now available online

For those interested in music from the African Continent, it is worth noting that the that the African Music Vol 11,2 is now available online. Many of the articles in this edition first saw the light of day as papers presented at the ICTM Study Group on African Musics, held in Accra in August 2018.

Connect with us