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Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Hon Olivia Grange has called on financial institutions in the developing world to make funding available to artistic entrepreneurs, as creative sectors become increasingly important to emerging economies.
Delivering the main address at the Creative Clusters 2008 Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday, Minister Grange said countries like Jamaica faced serious challenges because of entrenched negative attitudes toward the creative industries and the failure of the corporate world to see the opportunities they represent in the areas of poverty alleviation and wealth creation.
Sharing centre stage in the opening session with Lewis Pinault, Senior Director of creative toy giant Lego, she also urged developing nations to find innovative means of ensuring that their economies maximise the tremendous potential offered by the creative industries.
The Minister delivered an engrossing presentation, supported by visual aids which tracked Jamaican culture through the pages of history, highlighting the country’s heroes of music, film, stage, athletics and science. With rapt attention from the audience, she spoke of the power of sports as an engine of economic growth, emphasising the success of Jamaica’s music and track stars who have risen from very humble beginnings to become world stars and saleable commodities in the process.
Minister Grange pointed to the effects of cultural migration on developing countries as their stars migrate to major metropolitan centres in search of opportunities.
She called on First World countries to help developing nations by investing in the creative industries and ensuring that intellectual property from poorer nations receive adequate protection in major markets.
She said: “In spite of the richness of our cultural diversity and the abundance of our creative talents, developing countries like Jamaica are unable to reap the rewards of our actions in the enhancement of our creative industries. In fact, it continues to be true that these countries, despite reflecting the greatest cultural wealth, represent some of the highest levels of economic poverty.
“Among the reasons for this are the inadequacy of domestic policies and programmes, coupled with the encumbrances of lack of understanding and a mind-set among policy makers and financiers that result in insufficient resources and attention as compared to developed countries.” Minister Grange said financial institutions should do more to support start-up businesses in the creative sectors and called on governments to enact legislation which affords artistic personnel the opportunity to realise their dreams.
Minister Grange left the island on Sunday and will return later this week.