Minister Paul Mashatile on the occasion of the Financial Times Dinner
“The role of the arts, culture and heritage sector in promoting economic development”
Chairperson of the Session, Mr. Richard Lapper from the Financial Times;
The Deputy Minster of Economic Development, Honourable Enoch Godongwane;
Chairperson of the International Marketing Council Board Ms. Anitha Soni;
The Chief Executive Officer of the International Marketing Council of South Africa, Mr. Miller Matola;
The Chief Executive Officer of Eskom, Mr. Brian Dames
Ms Rochelle Josiah, the Chief Operations Officer of the Financial Times;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In October this year, in my capacity as the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, I met with the Vice Minister of Culture in the People’s Republic of China, her Excellency Ms. Zhao Shaohua.
During our discussions, Vice Minister Shaohua, mentioned that; shortly before our meeting she was attending a meeting of Communist Party of China’s Central Committee in which they were discussing China’s 12th Five Year National Development Plan.
As many of you know, one of China’s strengths and a factor that has contributed to the country’s emergence as a global economic and political powerhouse, is its ability to plan for the long-term.
Vice Minister Shaohua, told me and my delegation that one of the highlights of the Central Committee meeting for her was that; for the first time in many years, the Communist Party of China had placed culture as one of the central pillars of the development of the Chinese society and economy going forward.
In 2007 President Hu Jintao told the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China that;
“We must vigorously develop the cultural industry, launch major projects to lead the industry as a whole, speed up development of cultural industry bases and clusters of cultural industries with regional features, nurture key enterprises and strategic investors, create a thriving cultural market and enhance the industry's international competitiveness.”
About two weeks ago, we were invited to attend the International Forum on Cultural Heritage and Landscape in the City of Florence, Italy.
Once more at that Forum, speaker after speaker spoke at length about how arts, culture and heritage are increasingly becoming significant contributors to the world economy.
They referred to the sector as the “Golden economy”, placing it on par with what is today referred to as the ‘Green economy”.
Chairperson of the session, I am referring to these incidences to show that world-wide the arts, culture and heritage sector is increasingly being recognized as a key driver of economic growth and development.
The emergence of this sector has also been made necessary by the global financial crisis, which has forced governments to look for alternative and more innovative ways of growing their economies and creating jobs.
In the United Kingdom, from 1997 to 2003 creative industries grew at a rate of 6% per annum compared to 3% for the rest of the economy.
Employment in the sector grew at a rate of 3% per annum compared to 1% for the whole of the economy.
It is estimated that the sector will triple in size globally by 2020.
Drawing lessons from other parts of the world, we have also begun to position the arts, culture and heritage sector as a significant contributor to economic growth and job creation.
We have begun a process of mapping the sector to establish its exact contribution to the South African economy.
Early indications are that the sector is already a significant contributor to economic growth and development.
We estimate that the craft sector alone contributes about R2 billion or about 0.14% to the Gross Domestic Product annually.
We also estimate that; the Technical Services, which involve, stage lighting, sound engineering, stage construction is worth R 7 billion per anum.
It is reported that this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival contributed more than R 475 million to the economy of Cape Town.
A total of 2 000 jobs were created as a result of the hosting of the festival.
Chairperson, our country, is privileged to be home to no less than 8 World Heritage Sites.
These are the Mapungubwe, Robben Island, Vrede Fort Dome, Cradle of Humankind, Cape Floral Region, Richtersveld, Isimangaliso Wetlands and Ukhahlamba Drakensburg.
We are putting programmes in place to use these sites to boost tourism and thus enhance the contribution of heritage to the economy.
Our interventions in this regard include initiating a turn around strategy for Robben Island, which has been experiencing challenges that limited its ability to attract more tourists.
We are also paying attention to ensuring that the story of Robben Island is told with greater accuracy and consistency.
At a much broader level, we are finalizing our Heritage Tourism Strategy together with the Department of Tourism.
Our approach in promoting cultural and heritage tourism is informed by the understanding that a significant number of tourists visit a country or a city also to learn and appreciate its culture and heritage.
Throughout the world, there are examples of cities built and sustained by their cultural industries and more specifically cultural tourism.
For example the City of Florence, a world heritage site and a place with an immense cultural and artistic heritage, is one of the most visited cities around the world.
Los Angeles is well known for its rich musical and film tradition and New Orleans for its jazz tradition.
As we build future cities we must draw lessons from these examples.
Indeed we must give practical meaning to the saying that: “cultural industries are the new wealth of cities”.
Chairperson, in order to maximize the potential of the arts, culture and heritage sector’s contribution towards economic development, as the Department of Arts and Culture we are developing a strategy that will reposition the sector as one of the major drives of economic growth and job creation.
This strategy will be incorporated as part of the New Growth Path that was recently adopted by Cabinet.
We believe that through this strategy the arts, culture and heritage sector will make a significant contribution towards the national objective of creating 5 million jobs within the next ten years.
Linked to the repositioning of the sector as a major player in the economy is the need to pay attention to building the necessary skills base required to sustain the development of the sector.
It is for this reason that we have begun a process to establish a National Skills Academy for the Arts.
It is our view that the Academy will create room for more of our young people to participate in this sector and to make a decent living from it.
Specifically the Academy will provide training in areas such as drama, technical services, music as well as performing and visual arts.
We wish to once more reiterate that the National Skills Academy is not intended to replace other training initiatives conducted by the private sector, universities, Further Education and Training Institutions and provinces.
We will work together with these training providers.
Our approach is to position the National Skills Academy as a “Center of Excellence”, where our artists will perfect their skills and become the best at what they do.
Let us work together to vigorously develop our cultural industries and enhance their global competitiveness as well as their contribution towards the economy.