RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

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336 Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (1): The role of co-working and business development in the creative economy in Africa
Convenor(s) Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
Brian Hracs (University of Southampton, UK)
Chair(s) Jen Snowball (Rhodes University, South Africa)
Timetable Friday 30 August 2019, Session 2 (11:10 - 12:50)
Room Sherfield/SALC Building, Read Lecture Theatre
Session abstract In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role that cultural and creative industries (CCIs) play in the Global South- in terms of their economic contribution and connections to social change and cultural engagement (UNESCO, 2013). To contribute to this field and to support related policy agendas, these three special sessions aim to bring together international researchers and policy makers engaged with understanding or developing creative economies in Africa. They engage with the following research questions: what role can CCIs play in the development of African countries? What challenges and opportunities emerge with the development of CCIs in Africa? What role can policy (national and international) play in this context? The three sessions will also feature a discussant to enable critical reflection on current research and policy initiatives. To explore these questions in greater detail, the sessions are organised around three themes:

1) The role of co-working and business development in the creative economy in Africa
2) Geographies of creativity in Africa: urban, rural and beyond
3) Creative work, mobilities and education in the development of Africa's creative industries

The special session builds on the work of an AHRC funded research network http://www.creative-economy-africa.org.uk . The sessions aim to contribute to a better understanding of the creative economies in African countries and to explore strategies to encourage and enable sustainable context-specific cultural, social and economic development. The papers and authors will be invited to share findings via the project blog and website or contribute to an edited book and policy report.
Linked Sessions Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (2): Geographies of creativity in Africa: urban, rural and beyond
Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (3): Creative work, mobilities and education in the development of Africa's creative industries
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2019@rgs.org
Ahead of Policy? Co-working Hubs for Creative Industries in East African cities
Ayeta Anne Wangusa (University of Leicester, UK)
East Africa is one of Africa’s creative and entrepreneurial hot-spots when it comes to utilizing new technology and new platforms. In addition, creative hubs, both physical and virtual are an emerging trend in the three East African cities. They offer an opportunity for start-up creative industries to access affordable office space and services, close proximity to creative networks and jobs and capacity development. Based on ongoing doctoral research, the key question of this paper is: Do creative entrepreneurs in the creative hubs of Eco Sanaa Hub (Dar es Salaam), Design Hub (Kampala) and GoDown Arts Centre (Nairobi) integrate Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) objectives in their production and manufacturing processes and urban regeneration activities? Beyond offering co-working spaces, The GoDown Arts Centre and Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA) are incubating business ideas to develop creative hubs that represent the needs of diverse practitioners and audiences in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam cities respectively. While these initiatives add to democratizing the space for creative hubs in East Africa, it appears that the emergence of co-working spaces and networks to facilitate CCIs development is moving faster than the cultural and urban policy development and has some setbacks.This policy case will establish if there is a co-relation between national cultural and urban policies and the industrialization development agendas of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and how they impact on the sustainable development of CCIs in these countries.The policy case will also provide recommendations on how to narrow the gap between cultural and urban policies, and the link to national industrialization development agendas when it comes to sustainable creative economies.
Co-working in Nigeria: business as usual?
Lauren England (King's College London, UK)
Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
There has been a growing attention in the creative economy literature on the opportunities and dynamics of co-working for creative and cultural producers in developed countries. This paper tries to explore whether some of these considerations might be also valid for developing countries, with specific focus on Africa, specifically Nigeria. New co-working spaces have opened up in the country, led by a range of different stakeholders (from universities to private investors). The paper tries to map the phenomenon and provides some initial understanding of the way these spaces emerge in developing countries and what different needs and challenges they present in emerging economies.
Finance for CCIs in Africa
Yemisi Mokuolu (Hatch Africa)
Victoria Kay (Hatch Africa)
Globally, there are more than USD 100 trillion in assets managed by institutional investors and commercial banks searching for good returns (World Bank, 2018). Africa presents a vibrant and attractive investment destination with many opportunities for investors to achieve good returns while supporting economic growth and job creation in a long-term and sustainable way.

Furthermore, today, creative industries are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy, providing new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas of the world economy (UNCTAD), as well as presenting enormous revenue-generating opportunities.

Creative businesses across Africa have the potential to grow into global brands providing multiple jobs, greater wealth for communities and better social environments. This is made evident by the increased global demand for creative products and services from Africa. Today, the Creative Industry is the 2nd fastest growing employer across Africa, representing 3% of Africa’s GDP, contributing US$ 58bn to the economy and rising by 1% annually (www.worldcreative.org).

There has however been a lack of suitable support system to back the development of creative industries in Africa, which has confined these activities to the informal sector where financial and other constraints limit their production to a small scale. Unleashing the income-generation potential of these industries requires greater interest to be drawn to the informal sector and appropriate financial and technical support mechanisms (Quantum Global Group, 2017).

Drawing from real life experiences and the literature, this paper will seek to identify some of the growth support and funding gaps faced by Africa’s Creative Industries and discuss a number of sustainable approaches to financing opportunities and solutions to support business growth across Africa’s Creative Industries.
Supporting CCIs in Africa: Culture Works Connections
Yvette V. Jones (Visiting Arts, UK)
Culture Works Connections was designed as a programme to alleviate poverty in Africa funded through the Development budgets of the EU. It took as its premise that the creative sector in Africa was strong and there was great potential to develop sustainable jobs that would diminish the reliance on aid funding in the future. Creative jobs are non-invasive and non-extractive and therefore do not diminish the natural resources of the country. There is also a strong and growing market for creative goods both within the continent and internationally. The initial partners were the Africa Centre based in Cape Town, but with a pan African reach. The project started with a needs analysis. This was an online survey distributed through our (Visiting Arts) networks, those of the Africa centre and through associates and stakeholders such as British Council. The survey was, by necessity, short but focused on skills and, in particular, digital skills. As with other surveys we have conducted with the creative sector. there were some common themes. Unsurprisingly, the desire to network more widely, particularly for their own artistic development was strong as was the desire to promote their work to wider audiences. Developing wider markets to increase their income was, too, a priority for most. These are common themes across the creative sector but for those located in countries with very low GDP and poor cultural infrastructure, this is even more of an imperative.

Despite the fact that the results of the survey were in some ways predictable. the situation of creatives in these countries is different and this is shown by the evaluation feedback. This suggests that though the initial stimulus for work is strong and the means of production, even in the digital sphere, is relatively straightforward to access, there are significant challenges both internal (self-esteem and validation) and external (context and geography – Clark et al 2018) in promotion, distribution and critical positioning of the work.

Our paper will explore this discrepancy with reference to the two documents, the needs analysis and the feedback forms and will look at some of the reports from other capacity building programmes that have been carried out. It will also look at the underlying prevailing reasons for this disparity with reference to contemporary research and writing.
Discussant
Brian Hracs (University of Southampton, UK)
Discussant