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The creative industry could spin jobs

Publishing Date : 12 June, 2018

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The conversations around the creative industry and job creation in Botswana is still regarded as an opportunity that can be explored in order to develop an industry that can drive sustainable development and create inclusive job opportunities.


For the past years the creative industries have shown growth with many Batswana artists enjoying the thrill of performing on the international stage a move that has to be applauded beyond any reasonable doubt. Under the leadership of President Lt Gen Ian Khama, there have been government policies that have been detrimental to the growth of the industry. While some decisions were taken with good intentions, their outcomes were counterproductive. We are hoping President Mokgwetsi Masisi’s reforms will inspire serious transformation.


There is absolutely a need to establish a National Arts Council which should be tasked with the responsibility of developing Botswana’s creative industry by awarding grants.. This move will ensure that artists unite thus making it easy to be funded as a collective. This is so because government has been finding it difficult to fund individual artists over the years.


With Arts council in place, individual artists will be able to submit their project proposals and application for bursaries every year. An independent panel of experts in different arts disciplines adjudicates on each application and makes recommendations to the council. The council will also act as a hub for information and research about the economic and social impact of the creative industries.


According to a report from the Botswana International Music Conference (BIMC), it details that the music industry alone is faced with many challenges from small domestic market, lack of proper facilities for hosting major international and local music events, lack of international and regional exposure of our music practitioners, lastly poor regulatory framework. The report further highlights that the speed at which the music industry is growing is currently dictated by the digital age and ever growing demand of fresh new content on digital online platforms, television and ever changing landscape of the media, we are now in an era where content is king.


In the neighbouring South Africa the creative industries mapping study in 2014 showed that the industries had created between 162, 809 and 192, 410 jobs, about 1. 08 % to 1. 28 % of employment in the country, and that they contribute 2. 9 % to GDP. Faced with this severe youth unemployment in Botswana currently sitting at 17%, the creative industry may be particularly important for job creation. This is despite the fact that the industry is dominated by the informal economy, employment in the industries is relatively open to people from all ages and backgrounds, and dominated by small firms.

There is a serious need to formulate a strategy to develop the creative industry. Although Botswana has great programs probably the best in Africa to develop the arts. There is however no plan of what the government or stakeholders intends to do with the arts in particular the music industry.


Again the Ministry needs to build state theatres or refurbishing atleast 10 community halls countrywide into conference and convention centres that can be later used for hosting concerts and conferences. This will create massive employment during construction phase and after completion. Botswana Cinematography Act and as well as Copyright Act needs to be reviewed as many works in Botswana in the next seven years will be going into public domain especially the likes of Ratsie Setlhako, Sam Raditsebe, Speech Madimabe, Stiga Sola and others.


The cultural or creative industry growth strategy must look at all aspects of the industry both deficiencies, opportunities and legal framework thereafter dissect the key areas of development and the economic impact in terms of employment creation and GDP impact if the projects are to be embarked upon. The cultural development strategy must be aligned to the NDP11, National Policy on Culture, UNESCO Treaties, WIPO Treaties and the Copyright Act or any other laws or policies.


Lastly Botswana government and stakeholders need a clear plan on how they can tap into the international market. It is not sufficient to just be in Botswana because this ends up saturating the already small market and collapsing performance fees for local artists in the music industry.

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