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.

How South Africa Can Grow Its Gaming Industry? How South Africa Can Grow Its Gaming Industry?

In 2018, the global gaming industry consisted of 2.3 billion consumers, who spent nearly US$ 138 billion on games. Research done two years ago showed that there were more than 11m gamers in South Africa.

READ MORE
Highlights Of Some Of Our Research Produced Since October Last Year Highlights Of Some Of Our Research Produced Since October Last Year

The report was aimed at exploring South Africa’s cultural goods trade with selected African countries between 2007 and 2017, with reference to the current cultural policy environment at the continental and regional level affecting such trade. The UNESCO (2009) Framework for Cultural Statistics is used to identify cultural goods, with trade data sourced from UN Comtrade (2018). This study is thus important in the light of South Africa’s signing of the Agreement (AfCFTA) to establish the Continental Free Trade Area in July 2018.

READ MORE

Cape Town Carnival spinoffs in excess of R40m - report Cape Town Carnival spinoffs in excess of R40m - report

THE increasingly popular Cape Town Carnival is generating economic benefits for the city and creative industries, alongside social cohesion and stimulation of the creative economy.

READ MORE
The Market Theatres scoops Festival accolades The Market Theatres scoops Festival accolades

THE MARKET Theatre is South Africa’s leading creative hub for creating and presenting thought-provoking, inspiring and original South African theatre of the highest standard. Both productions on the Festival’s fringe programme have won the Standard Bank Fringe Ovation Award.

READ MORE

More News
AFRICA DAY INAUGURATION FOR PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA AFRICA DAY INAUGURATION FOR PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA

South Africa continues to affirm the government’s commitment to advancing the African agenda and to strengthening ties between South Africa and its neighbours. The country is set to inaugurate its fifth democratically elected President on Saturday, 25 May 2019 at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in the City of Tshwane.

Africa has lost Binyavanga Wainain - His spirit will live on Africa has lost Binyavanga Wainain - His spirit will live on

Prize-winning Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina has died in Nairobi after a short illness at the age of 48. He won the Caine Prize for African writing in 2002 and was best known around the world for his satirical essay How to Write About Africa. Wainaina was also named among Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2014 for his gay rights activism.

Africa Month Celebrations have begun Africa Month Celebrations have begun

In celebration of the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the African Union and the Department of Arts and Culture will host a series of events to celebrate Africa Month throughout the month of May culminating in the celebration of Africa Day on the 25th May. These celebrations are aimed at encouraging nation building through unity and freedom from oppression.

April Gig-Guide: cultural events not to be missed! April Gig-Guide: cultural events not to be missed!

The month of April is a significant month in South Africa as it brings the remembrance of its first democratic election back in 1994. With it, brings the exciting buzz of ‘freedom’ in the country, and what better way to show true liberation than by reflecting and witnessing the country’s cultural scene during the month of April

How South Africa Can Grow Its Gaming Industry? How South Africa Can Grow Its Gaming Industry?

In 2018, the global gaming industry consisted of 2.3 billion consumers, who spent nearly US$ 138 billion on games. Research done two years ago showed that there were more than 11m gamers in South Africa.

Connect with us