Culture: A Vehicle for Economic Development

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Culture: a vehicle for economic development

Cultural industries: Culture is a powerful global economic engine generating jobs and income with a value of US $1.3 trillion in 2005. Global cultural industries account for more than 7% g global GDP During the 1990s, the cultural industries grew at an annual rate twice that of service industries and four times that of manufacturing in OECD countries (2009 UWR). However, infrastructure investments are needed in the South to enhance and support cultural industries.

Cultural tourism: Cultural tourism comprised 40% of global tourism revenue in 2007. Heritage, especially UNESCO World Heritage sites, produces revenues from its sale of local crafts, music and cultural products generating employment for communities. International tourism represented approximately 10% of the EU’s GDP in 2004 (2009 UWE).

Traditional livelihoods: Culturally embedded livelihood practices help retain local knowledge and generate employment while enabling local economic development. These may vary from building crafts to agriculture and natural resource management.

Opportunities for economic growth through micro-enterprises: Cultural goods and services often need low capital investment by building on materials and skills available within the community. The successes of micro-credit enterprises that benefit women have been especially valuable.

Cultural infrastructure and institutions: Universities, museums, cultural centers, cinemas, theatres, craft centers and other such institutions are significant generators of employment and revenues. A museum such as Tate Modern is estimated to bring in revenues of over 100 million GBP to London every year.

Culture: a vehicle for sustainability

Mutual appreciation of diversity among cultures creates positive and constructive engagement. Dialogue promotes mutual understanding, knowledge, reconciliation and peace, which are essential for social stability.

Reconstructive force of culture:...
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