2021 was declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) as the “International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development”, considering that the orange economy involves economic activities based on knowledge and the interaction between human creativity and ideas, knowledge and technology, as well as cultural values or artistic and cultural heritage and other individual or collective creative expressions.
This year was declared in favor of the creative economy, according to the United Nations, to sustain and support the economies of developing countries in the progressive transition to higher productivity through high value-added sectors, promoting diversification, technological upgrading, research and innovation, including the creation of quality, decent and productive jobs, including through the promotion of cultural and creative industries, sustainable tourism, performing arts and heritage conservation activities.
Among these developing countries is the Dominican Republic, a nation that in its National Development Strategy (END 2030) that was constituted in 2012, has objectives that include the promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI).
“The orange economy is considered an economic engine, so the authorities must accelerate the cultural objectives of the END 2030.”
General objective 2.6 “Culture and national identity in a global world” of the END 2030, includes specific objective 2.6.2 which cites “promote the development of the cultural industry” which has the following action guidelines, according to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs (MICM):
1. Develop the cultural offer, specifically handicrafts, in order to create attractive products for tourist activity and promote tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
2. Encourage cultural industries, including ICTs, the market for cultural goods and services, in order to raise the standard of living of the population and promote cultural identity as an added value.
3. Promote the commercialization of cultural products and services, both locally and internationally.
4. To design financial support mechanisms for individual and collective creators of cultural works of public interest.
5. To promote training and education programs in areas related to the productive processes of the cultural industries.
6. Design mechanisms to promote an efficient distribution of books by national authors.
According to the MICM, the explicit mention of the promotion of the CCIs in the national development plan justifies and commits all Dominican institutions, both public and private, to continue working hard to face the challenges and close the gaps that the sector in general presents.
It is no wonder that the Dominican Republic is making progress in promoting its culture and heritage to achieve economic income. However, it may be surprising that in the second strategic axis, where references are made to cultural and creative industries, there are no indicators that allow us to recognize which of these goals have been met in favor of the orange economy. Moreover, among the reforms of the second strategic axis, there are no reforms related to culture or creativity.
Why is this important?
According to the document “Boosting the orange economy in Latin America and the Caribbean” that was presented at the Open Science Forum Latin America and the Caribbean (CILAC 2018), the creative or orange economy has an important role in promoting economic growth, inclusive development and innovation.
This report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) first highlights that creative sectors appear to be characterized by high productivity growth; in addition to being an important source of job creation for young people, not only in purely creative sectors, but also in traditional industries.
The research supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) indicates that creativity is one of the main drivers of the innovation process in a society. “In fact, creative products are unique and disruptive, and have the potential to inspire the whole society through the generation of ideas and, therefore, innovations,” it reveals.
Has progress been made?
Between 2010 and 2014, Dominicans seem to have started to believe more in the orange economy, as a sign of this is that according to the results of the “National Survey of Cultural Consumption of the Dominican Republic 2014” (ENCC-RD 2014) identified that in 2010 there were some 421,036 people working in a culture-related job, which represented 10% of the employed population. In 2014, it totaled 468,324 people, which corresponded to 12.5% of those employed that year. In relative terms, the variation between 2010 and 2014 presented a growth of 11.16%.
According to the ENCC-RD 2014, close to 1.8 million Dominicans aged 15 and over, residing in urban areas of the country, attended some cultural place or event, with the cinema being the most frequented place with 45%, followed by artistic events with 14% and national parks with 11%.
It further throws out that of the 5.2 million Internet browsing activities reported in 2014, the main ones were: listening to recorded music (21%), watching videos and movies (20%), and downloading music and video (16%).
However, it is likely that even after the arrival of the pandemic, these results will be much higher due to the approach of the Zeta generation to technology, social distancing and new ways of generating money through digital platforms. Given this reality, the country, in order to meet the objective 2.6 of the END 2030, should update this cultural consumption survey as soon as possible.