Prioritising the Caribbean Creative Industries through the CCIMU

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The process of cultivating a buoyant and sustainable cultural and creative economy within the Caribbean is a step closer with the development of a business plan to establish the Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU). At the 26th Intercessional meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government held in February 2015, a recommendation was made for a dedicated body to address the needs of the Region' cultural and creative industries in the form of a Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU). Whilst addressing the needs of the regional creative and cultural industries, the Unit is proposed to: foster creativity, support the development of businesses, create opportunities and improve trade. Central to the success of the unit will be the legal framework, ensuring the rights and obligations of stakeholders are respected and legally protected. “We still face the challenge of the lack of strategic and focused management in the development of the region' creative and cultural industries. This lack of a coordinated regional approach has hindered the sector' ability to contribute to sustainable development in the region. The biggest gap has been the absence of structure that addresses the monetization of the creative industries in the region" said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export). Caribbean Export has been assigned the lead role in the development of the CCIMU. It is the vision of the CCIMU to be the premier provider of evidence based services to enhance the performance and competitiveness of the Creative Industries across the Caribbean. This can only be achieved through taking a leadership role, facilitating an enabling environment through the enhancement of value chains, strengthening of regional networks and building capacity of the Caribbean creative industries to grow and be more competitive internationally. Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank Edward Greene, Division Chief, Technical Cooperation Division, expressed gratitude to Caribbean Export for the collaboration and taking the lead on this initiative. “CDB is pleased to be a partner in the creation of the CCIMU. We know that the CCIMU can play a critical role in addressing the needs of the regional creative industries‚Äîby fostering creativity; developing businesses; creating opportunities and improving trade; and ensuring that the rights and obligations of stakeholders are respected and legally protected," he said. CDB is providing funding for technical assistance to support the establishment of the CCIMU, through the staging of stakeholder consultations and the development of a business plan for the Unit. Central to the discussion at the meeting of key industry stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago on June 16, 2016, were the priority sectors within the region' creative industries. These were identified to be music, animation, fashion and festivals in view of their potential to deliver the most growth and value-add across the creative industries wider economy. “We must measure the economic value of our cultural capital and then leverage that value into commercial viability. This is what will strengthen the sector, enhance market access, drive growth and expand exports for sustainable development in the short and long term," said The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Jamaica The consultation focussed on defining the vision and mission of the proposed entity, it also addressed the priority areas of focus and the resulting work streams which generated considerable discussions amongst the stakeholders. The issue of governance and structure of the entity was addressed in the context of existing National frameworks in each Member State; focus was directed at funding arrangements and the sustainability of the proposed entity. “The CCIMU will bring to the forefront the business perspective of the talent which comes naturally from the region. With this convergence, it can be expected that this Unit will improve the competitive advantage of each country with their distinct flavor, as well as achieve a competitive advantage for the Caribbean Region as a whole," expressed Angela Edwards, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. A final report is to be prepared by the end of June 2016, taking into consideration the views and recommendations from the stakeholders present at the consultation. It is anticipated that this report on the proposed entity will be addressed at the upcoming Heads of Government conference in Guyana in July 2016.

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