Jamaica’s Creative Economy Poised for Another Take-Off
18 January 2023
Today, the Jamaican Economy Panel (JEP) publishes its fifteenth round of discussions and its first in 2023.
In this discussion, the JEP was asked about Jamaica’s Creative Economy and invited to share their perspectives on Jamaica’s options to further develop and diversify the island’s creative sector.
Dr. Nadine McLoud, Head, Department of Economics, University of the West Indies Mona stated that
“Jamaica has not reaped the full scale of the pecuniary and nonpecuniary returns from its massive and globally unique stock of creative capital that spans its entire socioeconomic distribution. Jamaica's production function in the creative arena requires critical facilitating inputs, such as physical infrastructure and financial capital, to help churn out sizeable and sustainable returns that will contribute to its economic development while reducing income inequality.”
Dr. Marcus Goffe Deputy Director/Legal Counsel of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) describes Jamaica as a “cultural superstate - a powerhouse over-bubbling with talent and creativity” with a world platform in music, sport, dance, and other spheres. However, Jamaica hasn’t realised the full potential of its creative ability. This may be partly due to not having accessible financing for the creative sector nor the opportunity to monetise the industry thoroughly.
Economist, Dr. Karsten Müller, Assistant Professor of Finance, highlights that brain drain has an extremely negative affect on the economy, notwithstanding the creative sector. Müller further emphasized that to retain some of the brightest Jamaicans as well as entice highly skilled immigrants, it is necessary to invest in “more cultural offerings” which he posits would “improve the liveability of Kingston.”
According to UN Senior Economist Stuart Davies, moving forward, Jamaica should consider more flexible financing structures that advance the diversification and economic transformation of its creative sector. Additionally, creatives would benefit from increased access to flexible financing mechanisms in order to fully take advantage of opportunities that arise as they develop and take creative products and services to market.
Elliott Harris, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, highlighted that traditional financing institutions often lack the flexibility that is needed for the creative economy to thrive. He explained that there is a “great need to expand access to sufficient and appropriate financing that will enable the scaling up of the creative economy to the point where it can actually provide a live yield.”
The sustainability and diversification of the Jamaican economy is key to ensuring that there are adequate opportunities for future generations, thereby limiting the migration of highly skilled creatives from Jamaica. Additionally, Jamaica is particularly well-known for its musical talent. Panellists emphasised the need for infrastructure to support this existing and burgeoning talent. In this regard, the JEP also agreed that emerging artists needed improved access to venues, practice space and business skills to further monetise this talent and further boost the music industry.
Responding to the survey results, Mr. Vincent Sweeney, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim, agreed that, “we must find ways to create a thriving environment for artists to truly reflect the rich creative ability that exists in Jamaica. There is space for public-private partnerships to help deliver on a number of these solutions.” He continued “improving access to global markets can raise competitiveness, ultimately creating a new economic dynamism.”
The Jamaican Economy Panel is part of a partnership between the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office (UNRCO) and the Department of Economics at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona. The JEP brings together a select group of economic and public sector experts to address monthly socio-economic questions. These questions help to highlight relevant economic issues and the collective expertise of the panellists.
For more information on the Jamaican Economy Panel and for the results of this JEP discussion visit here.