The present paper argues that creative industries provide an avenue for economic diversification and export growth for the Caribbean.
Creative industries have become a new engine of growth and development in the world economy. This dynamic sector, which ranges from traditional arts to multimedia, has been an important driver of innovation and productivity growth. The present study argues that the creative industries can become a pillar for economic diversification and export growth in the Caribbean. The study adds to the developing literature on the creative sector by evaluating export performance in the context of constraints as well as opportunities.
The Caribbean creative sector possesses a number of advantages that are recommendation for development. The creative industries allow the leverage of the abundant talent and skill of Caribbean people and domestic capital to produce competitive products and services. In addition, the sector is comparatively labour intensive and can, therefore, help to alleviate the chronic unemployment problem in the Caribbean.
Nevertheless, the study indicates that Caribbean countries have been underperforming in most segments of the creative industries, even when benchmarked against other developing countries of similar size and level of development. This is reflected in small and stagnant market shares, both in regional and international trade, in most segments of the sector. Weak trade performance is determined by a number of binding constraints faced by the creative industries.
Critical among these constraints are weak product and service development policies that result in many firms being unable to upgrade their product or service to meet international standards. Further, the high cost of and limited access to appropriate financing limit growth and scaling up of operations. The study recommends that the CARICOM region adopt an active product/service development policy, including the use of the new information technologies, development finance and robust, but flexible intellectual property regimes to enable its creative sector to realize its full export, growth and development potential.