South African Cultural Observatory

Explore the Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa 2022 Capstone Report

The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in South Africa contribute to economic growth, employment, and international trade. The CCIs have potential for employment creation, skills development, social cohesion, and supporting the tourism industry. The “CCI Mapping Study 2022” provides updated information on the contribution of the CCIs to the South African economy. 

The study is impacted by changes in the structure of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyses the GDP, employment, and international trade of the CCIs. South Africa has a trade surplus in Cultural and Natural Heritage trade and Visual Arts and Crafts. The study also examines cultural occupations and the impact of the pandemic on the CCIs. The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have significant shares of cultural occupations. South Africa's trade policy and agreements support the development of the CCIs.

The CCIs contribute approximately 3% of South Africa's total economic production. Design and Creative Services occupations have increased their share of cultural occupations. Women in cultural occupations were less affected by the pandemic compared to men. The study aims to provide reliable and internationally comparable statistics on the CCIs. Visual Arts and Crafts, Books and Press, and Performance and Celebration are the most significant domains for South Africa's cultural goods trade. 

  • In addition to the important social and cultural values that cultural and creative activities contribute to the identity and wellbeing of South Africans, the contribution of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) to economic growth, employment, and international trade has been increasingly acknowledged. In South Africa, this occurred through the “Mzansi’s Golden Economy” initiative, under which the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) was founded. In its 2019 presentation to Cabinet on South Africa’s “Re-imagined Industrial Strategy”, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition pointed to the potential the CCIs have for, inter alia, employment creation, skills development, promoting social cohesion, raising the country’s profile abroad and supporting the domestic tourism industry
  • The overall goal of the CCI Mapping Study 2022 is to provide updated information on how the cultural and creative industries contribute to the economy of South Africa in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP growth, employment and transformation, and international trade
  • An important point to note is that some of the results presented in the 2022 mapping study are not directly comparable with those in the 2020 study because of the “rebasing” of the GDP measures in 2021 by Statistics South Africa, which revealed important changes in the structure of the South African economy which affected the size and composition of the CCIs
  • This document demonstrates how the cultural sector fits into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework and describes how countries can use qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure the contribution of the CCIs to the SDGs.
  • If foreign tourists come to South Africa and spend an additional R1 million on Cultural and Natural Heritage products and services, the boost given to the economy in direct and indirect output impacts would be equal to R1m multiplied by 1.850, which would be equal to R1.85 million.
  • The Visual Arts and Crafts domain comprises just under 14% of South Africa’s CCI to the country’s GDP.
  • Two things are clear from this analysis: Firstly, that the CCIs in South Africa are most likely to cluster in provinces with the larger metropolitan areas; and secondly, that South Africa has a polycentric system, like the US (Kemeny et al, 2019), with more than one creative economy hub.

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