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Sh25b creative industry untapped

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – The taskforce charged with promoting the local visual effects sector has hinted that it is formulating a strategy that will enable it to tap into the global creative industry.

Although he remained guarded about the \’project\’, the taskforce Vice Chairman Michael Onyango said through the policy, they hope to capture at least 10 percent of the global industry which is estimated to be worth $592 billion, in the next five years.

"We know exactly where we will be getting that (10 percent) from. One of the things we want to see going forward is to bring a lot of businesses that are incubated together. We also want to harness the huge capacity that we have in order to get there," he said.

The creative economy is said to be the fastest growing in the world having grown at an average of 14 percent between 2002 and 2008. It also has the potential to create wealth and job opportunities especially for the young people. For instance, in the US where the sector contributes 11.2 percent of the country\’s GDP, it also accounts for 8.9 percent of the jobs in that market.

According to a survey conducted by Zimele Asset Management Company, Kenya\’s creative industry is worth about Sh25 billion which represents one percent of the country\’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Kenya is increasingly becoming an ICT hub in Africa going by the many innovations that are coming up and the number of global firms such as Google and Samsung and that are setting up shop locally.

And therefore by leveraging on this capacity, the taskforce hoped that their initiative would be able to reinforce this position and enable the industry to grow significantly and contribute massively to the country\’s economic development.

"It is going to be business unusual because we are taking the lead. We want to ensure that when it comes to intellectual property and copyrights, we have ownership of all these initiatives. The revenues have to come into the pockets of our people because it is them that are coming up with all these innovations," Mr Onyango emphasised.

He further revealed that there was a plan to set up a centre where the various fields that make up the creative such as arts and craft, animation, advertising, music and gaming would come together and develop ideas that can be packaged and exported and as such contribute significantly to the country\’s trade.

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"For us, the most important thing is all about the trade and economy. We know that we have the talent and the resources but we need to harness that and grow the economy out of it," the animator said during the launch of an awareness campaign dubbed \’Mzuka\’ that is aimed at sensitising players about the potential of the industry.

Besides having the sector mainstreamed in the economy and \’Mzuka\’ aims to have the creatives recognised by young high school and university graduates as key contributors to the opening up of the \’new economy.\’

Present at the function was Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo, who said that the Treasury had recognised the importance of the sector as a new frontier for both economic growth and job creation and had pledged to look into ways of funding it.

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