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‘Jordan’s creative sector has potential to gain global recognition’


Elisa Oddone, The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Jordan’s creative sector has “what it takes” to play a competitive role on a global scale, experts and officials said on Wednesday, but called for a shift in the national mindset and the creation of a creative entity to shoot for this goal.

The economic contribution of creative industries — spanning advertising, art, design, fashion, film and software — has substantial room for improvement, as they contribute only 3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to government data.

“The Kingdom lacks natural resources, but it is rich in human capital,” Richard Naylor, director of BOP Consulting firm, said at the “Step into the Future — A Call to Action” conference organised by the EU and the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).

Naylor, whose London-based firm helps clients understand the economic and social impacts of culture and creativity on society, depicted an optimistic scenario for Jordan.

“The country can count on an extremely young population … and has already achieved a brilliant success in its information technology sector, since it is responsible for about two-thirds of the Arabic content of the web,” he noted.

Jordan’s advantages in the creative industries sector are overshadowed by a lack of regulation and an appropriate institution focused on business development, support and education in the field, speakers at the conference said.“We need stronger collaboration between the private and public sectors in order to achieve a sustainable creative sector in Jordan and a collective organisation campaigning for professionals in the field,” Silicon Badia managing partner Emile Cubeisy said.

Cubeisy, whose firm invests in technology companies in Jordan, the Middle East and the US, and builds networks between entrepreneurs and investors, said Jordanians should look at the creative sector as an opportunity for profit and collaborate as they all face the same challenges.

“Jordan could be successful on a world scale with its creative industry, as it has a huge reserve of talents but must improve competitiveness. The cultural sector should be regarded as a business which creates a win-win situation for both the investors and the companies,” he noted.

Operating on a global level and fostering participation in international fairs and conferences would be the path for supporting the Kingdom’s creative industry to adjust to international standards, officials said during the conference.

“Culture and creativity may be the next successful field for Jordan near to an already thriving IT sector,” EU Ambassador to Jordan Joanna Wronecka said, adding that the EU, together with EUNIC, supports interaction between European and Jordanian professionals.

“Mobility of artists and designers is the key to success, paving the way for the establishment of a sustainable creative field in the country,” she said.

Citing the success of some heavyweight Jordanian companies like Kharabeesh, one of the leading multi-channel networks and broadcasters on YouTube, and the internationally renowned Meisam architecture firm, Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji pointed to the link between creativity and innovation.

“Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand and are just around the corner. The municipality should be the ground and playground for Ammanis to create and to… shape the world in which they live.”


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