Exploring the Reality of the Creative Industry as an Economic Driver

As a mobile game developer and a creative industry professional from Jordan, I was thrilled to attend the Creative Industries Forum organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA). This unique event provided a valuable platform to interact with professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries across the MENA region. The forum showcased the latest trends and challenges in creativity and innovation. It helped me gain more profound knowledge about the field and its use in different contexts. I created this blog post to reflect on the creative industry by actively networking with my peers and engaging with other entrepreneurs.


During the event, I was particularly excited about the opportunity to expand my professional network, allowing me to connect with like-minded individuals and potential collaborators who shared my interests and goals. As a young person looking to establish myself in the creative economy, I found the forum particularly valuable. It allowed me to learn from established professionals and build relationships supporting my growth and development.


Overall, I believe participating in the Creative Industries Forum was an enriching experience that helped me advance my career and contribute to the growth and development of the creative industries sector in the Arab region. I look forward to attending future events and continuing to be a part of the creative industries community in the area.


The Creative Industries Forum (CIF) was established in response to the economic crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses, including those within the creative and cultural industries, suffered significant losses during the pandemic. However, the pandemic also highlighted the importance of culture and its role in promoting individual well-being, social resilience, and economic development. The creative industries were essential to the Arab region’s culture and economy, contributing approximately $58 billion and representing 3.5% of the region’s GDP.

The CIF aimed to build a more robust creative economy in the Arab region by raising awareness of cultural and creative industries, identifying and bridging gaps within these industries, and inspiring creative entrepreneurs with regional and global business models and success stories. The expected outcomes of the CIF included:

    • Building a regional platform for the cultural and creative industries.

    • Enhancing innovative businesses’ access to opportunities and strategic partnerships.

    • Influencing policymakers to strengthen the business-enabling environment for the creative industry.

The theme for the CIF 2023 was “Unleashing Arab Creativity,” and the forum began with a panel showcasing inspiring innovative businesses from the Arab region, followed by mapping the main challenges faced by SMEs within the creative industries and presenting a proposal for a regional platform. Participants designed a roadmap for the regional cluster for creative industries based on the discussions and workshops.


There are several challenges facing creative businesses in the Middle East. One of the main challenges is the lack of access to funding and financial resources, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. The creative industries often require a substantial upfront investment, making it difficult for businesses to secure financing. In addition, there is a lack of business and entrepreneurship training, which can hinder the growth and development of these businesses.

Another challenge is the limited access to international markets, which can prevent creative businesses from reaching a global audience; that can be due to a lack of knowledge and resources for international marketing and distribution and challenges related to intellectual property rights and protection.

The political and social instability in some parts of the Middle East can also impact creative businesses, particularly those in conflict zones or areas with high levels of political or social unrest. This instability can make operating and accessing resources difficult and impact consumer demand and economic growth.

The creative industries 

The creative industries (sometimes called the cultural sector) are businesses and organizations that create, produce, and distribute cultural goods, services, and experiences. These industries typically use creativity, skill, and talent to make and market products and services with cultural or artistic value.


Some examples of creative industries include:


Video games, Advertising and marketing, Architecture, Art, and antiques

Crafts, Design (e.g., fashion design, graphic Design, Industrial Design)

Film, TV, and video, Music and performing arts; Publishing (e.g., books, magazines, newspapers); Heritage and museums and Interactive leisure software

The creative industries have become increasingly important in the global economy as a source of economic growth and a driver of cultural innovation and diversity. Many countries have recognized the importance of creative industries and developed policies and programs to support their development and growth.


Exploring the Reality of the Creative Industry as an Economic Driver


The creative industry has long been viewed as a critical driver of economic growth and job creation, but the reality is much more complex. In my blog post, we will explore the truth behind the myth and the role that creativity can play in driving economic development, focusing on Jordan.


We will explore how the creative industry contributes to a nation’s economy through direct revenues from artistic activities and the indirect impacts of increased tourism and job creation driven by innovation. However, we must also recognize that measuring these contributions can be challenging, with issues arising from data collection methods and an incomplete understanding of market dynamics.

Furthermore, we must also acknowledge the obstacles that can hinder the growth of the creative industry. These obstacles include limited access to financing, lack of infrastructure and resources, little public awareness and appreciation, limited education and training, regulatory challenges, and political instability and security concerns.


Despite these challenges, we must find ways to ensure the creative sector can continue to play its part in spurring overall economic development. However, we must also be mindful of the potential negative externalities of rapid growth in certain areas.

As we move forward, we must implement policies supporting the creative industry’s growth and development while mitigating potential negative impacts. By doing so, we can continue fostering economic growth and job creation in Jordan while celebrating and preserving our rich cultural Heritage.

This blog post will explore both sides of this argument, looking at myth and reality regarding the potential for the creative industry in Jordan’s modernization vision. 


Yes, it’s Jordan.

Jordan is in the heart of the Middle East, bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south, and Israel and Palestine to the west. With a population of around 10 million people, Jordan is one of the smaller countries in the region, but it has a rich history and culture.

Regarding its economy, Jordan is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank, with a GDP of around $44 billion in 2020. Its economy is relatively diversified, with services, manufacturing, and agriculture all playing essential roles. However, like many countries in the region, Jordan has faced economic challenges recently, including high unemployment, low economic growth, and a large public debt.


Politically, Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, with King Abdullah II as the head of state. The country has a relatively stable political system, with regular parliamentary elections and a multi-party system.

However, Jordan has faced significant geopolitical challenges recently, including the Syrian refugee crisis and the conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq.


Against this backdrop, the Economic Modernization Vision 2030 is a crucial strategy for promoting economic growth and stability in Jordan. The vision aims to transform the economy into a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation and creativity, create new economic growth and employment sources, reduce reliance on traditional industries, and promote the country’s cultural Heritage.


The involvement of His Majesty King Abdullah in the launch of Jordan’s Economic Modernisation Vision demonstrates the country’s commitment to pushing the country forward toward comprehensive sustainable growth and generating job opportunities. With the vision being implemented in three phases over ten years, it includes 366 initiatives across various sectors and eight national economic growth drivers. While the majority of the financing is expected to come from the private sector, the government emphasizes the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship and stepping up cooperation with development partners to direct their resources towards promising fields. This vision highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in implementing the vision and expanding investments in various industries. The government’s commitment to setting executive frameworks and financing the vision within the limits of its current spending shows its dedication to achieving the vision’s objectives.


Overview of Jordan’s Creative Industry

Jordan’s Economic Modernisation Vision has identified the creative industry as an essential driver of economic growth. The potential for growth in this sector is significant, and the country is actively pursuing policies to facilitate its development. However, many myths surrounding the creative industry must be debunked to reach its full potential as an economic driver. This paper will examine these myths, assess their validity concerning Jordan’s current situation, and provide insights on how reality can be better aligned with myth to maximize the opportunities offered by this vital sector of the economy. By exploring myth and truth within a Jordanian context, this paper will seek to provide meaningful discussion on how best to harness the power of creativity for sustainable economic development in Jordan.


As part of its modernization vision, Jordan has identified the creative industry as a critical economic driver. The country’s leaders have recognized that creativity can spur innovation and economic growth. However, there is some debate over whether or not this sector can provide a significant boost to the economy. 


The Myth: Creativity Can Transform an Economy Many believe creativity has transformative potential in driving economic development. Some argue that tapping into creative ideas can unleash new ways of thinking about business operations and products which could lead to increased productivity and efficiency in various sectors across an economy.

Furthermore, those who advocate for this view suggest that creativity could be used as a tool for job creation by creating new industries from scratch or by allowing old ones to evolve with innovative models and approaches. Finally, proponents also point out that creative industries have historically been successful drivers of tourism revenue due to their ability to attract visitors worldwide with unique experiences, such as art galleries, music festivals, and film screenings, amongst many other options available today. 


The Reality: Challenges Facing Creative Industries However, there are specific challenges facing creatives wishing to use their skillset within an economic framework—especially if they want to create long-term sustainability rather than just short-term success stories. 


Firstly, many entrepreneurs lack access to capital needed for finance projects due to limited resources available from traditional sources such as banks or venture capitalists, thus making it difficult for startup companies, even before they start trading on markets or launching products or services online, customers buy into them make money back investments made earlier stages development process Secondly current legal frameworks may not offer enough protection intellectual property rights creators meaning profits generated through sales cannot always guarantee safety future income streams Additionally large corporations may become involved space stifling competition preventing small scale businesses getting foothold market place all these factors combined make difficult find sustainable solutions any given business model requiring substantial amounts hard work dedication towards achieving desired outcomes order remain profitable long term basis.


Why Developing countries often invest in creative industries

Investment in creative or cultural industries is a reliable and beneficial way of driving growth for developing countries. Research studies have revealed that youth, the most vital sector of any population, are attracted to this type of industry as it provides unique self-expression and appreciation. Moreover, investment in creative industries can generate considerable fortunes for public and private stakeholders while providing space for innovative minds to conceive unique products and services. Creative industries possess immense potential to bring people together, create opportunities that may fuel entrepreneurial activity, and act as engines of economic growth. Governments worldwide can stimulate and facilitate local innovation, creativity, and progress by investing in creative industries.

Here are a few benefits of such investment :

1-Economic development: Creative industries have the potential to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities, particularly in developing countries where traditional industries may be limited. The creative industries also tend to be less capital-intensive than other industries, which makes them more accessible to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

2-Cultural preservation and promotion: Developing countries often have rich cultural traditions that can be preserved and promoted through creative industries. By investing in creative industries, governments can help to ensure that traditional art forms, crafts, and other cultural expressions are not lost and can be shared with a broader audience.

3-International trade: The creative industries are a growing sector in the global economy, and many developing countries see them as a way to increase their exports and compete in international markets. The creative industry’s products and services can also generate foreign exchange earnings, which can be used to support other development objectives.

4-Social impact: The creative industries can positively impact social development by providing opportunities for marginalized communities and empowering individuals and communities through developing creative skills and abilities.


The future of the creative industry is both exciting and unpredictable. With the constant evolution of technology, the industry is likely to become even more innovative and boundary-pushing than it is now. We can expect to see new forms of video games, art, music, film, and Design emerge and new ways of experiencing and consuming them. However, as with any industry, there will also be challenges, such as changing consumer preferences and economic fluctuations. To thrive in this dynamic landscape, creatives must stay agile, adaptable, and open to collaboration and new ideas. Ultimately, the creative industry’s future will be shaped by the creativity and ingenuity of the people who work in it, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities that lie ahead.

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