I recently attended a Seminar on Creative Economy, co-organized by the British Council and the Lebanon Creative Clusters. This seminar was dictated by the presumption that Creative Economy is undoubtedly a substantial but unrecognized contributor to our national output, therefore, we need to put it on the map. Artists, painters, publishers, authors, advertisers, film producers and directors, graphic designers and web-developers, etc. whether freelancers or companies, constitute a vibrant fabric within our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. And whether it has been formally acknowledged or not, they provide a significant contribution to our GDP.
While researching for my intervention on the panel “Physical & Virtual Clustering” to give Berytech’s perspective, I uncovered some interesting data. While we were chasing information around, trying to prove how important and significant creative industries are to our GDP, a research conducted by Najib Harabi from the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland, laid it black on white: Using Michael’s Porter Diamond model as a theoretical background, and covering the book publishing, music sound recording, film production and software industries from a government and private sector perspectives, the findings, [quoting United Nations (2008), Creative Economy Report 2008. The challenge of Assessing the Creative Economy: toward Informed Policy-making. Geneva 2008. Melki, Roger (2007), The Economic Contribution of Creative industries in Lebanon. WIPO, Geneva], were surprising and intriguing. Creative Industries constitute 4.8% of our GDP. Which is not bad, knowing that a similar contribution to the UK’s GDP is not more than %5.8 and counts amongst the largest within developed economies (US tails behind at 3.5%). Now whether we owe this to the fact that other traditional domestic industries score low in terms of contribution to the GDP is another subject to debate. But in the mean time, rejoice creative entrepreneurs, our Creative Industries are alive and kicking!