Ghana National Film Authority, Nanjing City and Shenzhen City of China explore South-South cooperation in creative industry

February 1, 2022

18 January 2022, Beijing – UNOSSC, through its Cities Project, facilitated South-South exchange in the areas of creative industry development with a special focus on cultural industry pilot zone development and animation design. Representatives and experts from the Ghana National Film Authority, Nanjing and Shenzhen City of China participated the exchange online.

The creative economy is the sum of all the parts of the creative industries, including trade, labor, and production. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),  the creative industries – which include advertising, design, film, video, computer games, architecture, fashion, etc. – are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy today, providing new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas.

The exchange was facilitated in response to the request made by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana, seeking support and exploring cooperation with Chinese cities and institutions on the creative economy for capacity development and training.

Inherited by a very vibrant community of creatives, Ghana’s potential for the sector remains largely untapped due to the lack of investment, skills and training of practitioners. The National Film Authority of Ghana (NFA) was set up in 2016, with the mandate of regulating Ghana’s film and audiovisual ecosystem and working on making the industry dynamic and economically self-sustaining.

Ms. Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, Executive Secretary of the National Film Authority of Ghana

In her remarks, Ms. Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, Executive Secretary of NFA, introduced that in 2020, Ghanaians spent almost $40 million on online games alone, clearly highlighting the market’s interest in production, animation and gaming. Given the opportunities, NFA has the vision to combine the animation and gaming sub-sectors (the “Anigame” project) and develop audiovisual stories that speak to the culture and people. Through South-South cooperation, Ghana can foster innovation, promote collaboration and networking, enhance human resource capacity, as well as tackle the challenges of the creative economy.

Left: Ms. ZHAO Jiyan, General Manager of Creative and Cultural Park in Nanjing City, China; Right: Ms. TANG Ying, Secretary-General of Shenzhen Cultural Industry Park Association, Shenzhen, China

Representatives of Nanjing and Shenzhen City of China gave a brief illustration of the creative economy landscape, especially the business models of Cultural-Creative Industries Parks (CCIPs) in the area. Nanjing positions its cultural creative parks as a multi-functional venue for exhibitions, retail, office, small theatres, production studios and public service, aiming to develop the industrial value chain to reach regional markets and beyond.

As one of the pilot cities on cultural system reform in China, Shenzhen has formed a comprehensive cultural industry policy system after more than 10 years of exploration. With city-wide policies in the backdrop, each district also issued its policies based on the area’s culture and development priorities. Currently, the city has 71 cultural industrial parks at the municipal level or above. The major challenge lies with the creative industry’s upgrading and restructuring, including a shortage of high-level talents and others.

Screenshot of Shenzhen’s promo video: “The City of the Future”

During the Q&A session, the representatives had an in-depth discussion on the market-based models of creative parks, as well as the cooperation potential between the two sides. Ms. Zhao Jiyan of Nanjing City reflected that the city’s operational and management models of creative parks could serve as a good example for Ghana. Online capacity training can kickstart bilateral exchange whereas on-site training and study tours could follow once the international travel eases.

Under the Cities Project,  “South-South Cities Clusters” were launched on the South-South Galaxy platform as an online community of practice dedicated to facilitating information sharing, knowledge exchange, networking, and project collaboration among cities, local authorities, UN agencies, and other development partners. Currently, it offers interactive thematic spaces on COVID-19 Response and Public Health; Sustainable Tourism Recovery, Heritage Protection and Creative Economy; Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development; E-Commerce Development, Digitization and Smart Cities; Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation and Resilient Cities; Sustainable Transport, Air Quality, Waste Management, Green Cities as well as Renewable Energy Development. Today’s exchange also serves as an inaugural exchange of renewable energy cities cluster.  Cities partners who joined today’s exchange expressed their strong interests in participating in more future sectoral exchanges with a broader international development community through the South-South Cities Cluster platform.