1. Purpose and background
Over the past two years, the economic crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to significant losses for numerous small businesses, including those within the creative and cultural industries. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of culture and its role in promoting individual well-being, social resilience and economic development. However, creative and cultural businesses continue to be poorly supported.
The Arab region is well known for its rich cultural heritage, which is strongly reflected across various fields, from crafts, fashion and visual art to digital media, particularly among young people. The Creative Industries Forum (CIF) aims to build an enabling environment to strengthen small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the cultural and creative industries by creating a digital platform for opportunities, networking and capacity-building.
The CIF will bring together selected participants within the creative and cultural sectors, to discuss the foundations of the "Regional Creative Industries Platform", to promote Arab products and their existing marketplaces.
The CIF aims to build a more robust creative economy in the Arab region through:
Raising awareness of cultural and creative industries and their contributions to the economic development of the Arab region.
Identifying and bridging gaps within the cultural and creative industries.
Inspiring creative entrepreneurs with regional and global business models and success stories.
Creating a regional platform to support the community of cultural and creative industries.
3. Expected outcomes
- Building a regional platform for the cultural and creative industries that encourages current and potential entrepreneurs start businesses and grow within the creative sector. The platform will disseminate existing marketplaces and facilitate the creation of new ones but will not act as a transactional marketplace.
- Enhancing creative businesses’ access to opportunities and strategic partnerships
- Influencing policymakers to strengthen the business-enabling environment for the creative industry.
4. Theme and structure
The theme for the CIF 2023 is “Promoting Arab Culture”; the starting point for building a digital platform for the cultural and creative industries in the Arab region.
The forum will begin with a panel that showcases inspiring creative businesses from the Arab region, followed by mapping the main challenges faced by SMEs within the creative industries and the practical interventions needed to strengthen these businesses' access to opportunities through a regional platform.
A proposal of the platform will be presented on the second day and input will be received from attendees. Based on the discussions and workshops, attendees will be divided into groups to form an outline for building the platform.
The forum will include an exhibition for 20 SMEs representing different creative products from 20 ESCWA Member States.
The meeting will be conducted in the Arabic language