Study show “creative” types in Africa are in high demand

Posted on March 1, 2014 03:39 pm

A new study has revealed that creative minds are in high demand across Africa after the number of Africans in the creative job bracket grew significantly from estimated 900,000 people in 2000 to a staggering 5000,000 people in 2012 according to a recently analyzed data. As I had argued few weeks back on how Uganda can gain economic competitiveness, , the creative sector which encompasses films, Television, advertising and marketing, architecture, design and visual arts, newspapers, radio, music and performing arts, publishing, software and digital content has become one of the fastest-growing segments of the African economies with countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria recently competing with South Africa, long the continent’s creative industries leader. However, the rainbow nation is not going to lose its position anytime soon but the rest are catching up.  In Nigeria, the creative industries, and sectors that employ creative professionals, are estimated to create more than 300,000 new jobs annually in the past four years according to the study and this is well above the rate of growth in the country’s oil workforce in general. In Kenya and Tanzania, creative professionals are expected to outnumber mining sector employees four to one, and those of agriculture fishing three to one respectively.

This has given the feeling on how this sector is emerging relative to two traditional employment industries. In Tanzania, Bongo music and Bongo movies have continued to gain popularity across the sub Saharan region with Kenya and Nigeria being the main markets for Bongo music and movies. The analysis reveals that poor growth in the cultural products industry in Uganda was more than offset by an expansion in employment in creative services that has more than doubled over the last five years. There is a patters in the sub Saharan region where the publishing industry has shrank in more than 90% of the markets surveyed mainly due to declining advertising revenues which seems to be resulting from dynamic growth in photography, digital content and software development, and also in activities like marketing, architecture, advertising and most probably digital content where creative people deal on a business-to-business basis rather than the traditional way of business to consumer basis. With a growth rate of 22% for musicians, creative artists and performers is likely the result of more people opting to be freelancers or self-employment. There has also been a huge growth in graphical arts consulting services, fashion design and product design as well as professional video and photography though traditional arts and print newspapers and magazines are facing a losing battle to remain in business. Most of Africa’s creative services are mainstream and have become embedded across the economy, job creation sector and are growing at a very fast rate.

Contador Harrison