Countries making up the CARIFORUM region are among the most prolific producers of ‘cultural products’ in the world, but have not fully capitalized on the earning potential they offer.
Speaking at the start of a two-day forum on the cultural and creative industries at the Courtyard by Marriott, Sanya Alleyne, Technical Trade Advisor with the German Agency for International Cooperation and Development (GIZ), noted that, “CARIFORUM has many festivals, musicians, fashion designers, artistes, craftsmen and service providers in cultural services, but they need more technical and financial support so they can become bigger players within this trillion dollar industry.”
The GIZ is hosting the forum in association with the European Union (EU) and Caribbean Export, and Alleyne informed the participants on some of the measures the European Union had introduced to assist them.
“The Cultural Protocol under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has set out a basic framework to manage intellectual and creative products. Among other things, this framework supports the temporary entry of cultural practitioners into Europe for up to 90 days a year, the provision of technical assistance, co-production arrangements between the EU and CARIFORUM member states, and Europe has liberalized the entertainment sector to allow easier market entry and cross border trading, which will help CARICOM countries grow and develop their economies and societies.”
The workshop was designed “to help enhance participants’ understanding of the dynamics of the industry, enhance their ability to create unique propositions and selling points, understand industry standards and how to meet them, develop competitive pricing strategies and use intellectual property strategically in their productions”, and industry specialists from across the CARIFORUM states are acting as facilitators.
Meanwhile, the EU’s Head of Delegation to the Eastern Caribbean, OECS, CARICOM and CARIFORUM Daniela Tramacere noted that the EU had helped Barbados’ Cultural Industries Development Authority in two specific areas thus far.
“We looked at visual arts and fashion design, which were relatively underdeveloped, and gave them some insight into business management, building production capacity and marketing. This intervention helped improve their competitiveness and resulted in increased levels of export.”
Services Specialist with Caribbean Export, Allyson Francis, said her organiz0ation was working towards setting up a desk to deal specifically with the creative industries, and expressed hope that the ongoing workshop would give them some assistance in achieving that goal. (DH)