Insight: How can advanced technology benefit the creative economy? New UNCTAD report outlines big opportunities

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched a new report on the intersection of the 4th industrial revolution and the creative economy, entitled Creative Industry 4.0: Towards A New Globalized Creative Economy,” last week. The report is available to download for free. It highlights how technologies from the 4th industrial revolution will transform creative industries.

“This ‘revolution’ is driven by progress in information technology and software, advanced production equipment, robotics and factory automation, which are expected to generate a quantum leap in how industries produce, and people consume,” the report reads.

Creative Industry 4.0 is expected to benefit from the opportunities brought by new technologies. On the design and production side, these are: enhanced efficiency, unrestricted creativity, greater interactivity, and flexibility that facilitates cost-effective customization.


“Creative Industry 4.0 has undoubtedly brought benefits,” said Marisa Henderson, who heads the trade and creative economy section at UNCTAD. “However, with the seemingly endless release of new creative products, functions and services, a key policy challenge, especially for developing countries, is how to accurately measure the value of creative goods and services.”

According to the report, conservative estimates put the creative economy’s contribution to global gross domestic product at about 3 percent, roughly in line with its contribution to world trade. This contribution is expected to be strengthened by a surge in digitalization and advanced technologies that characterize Creative Industry 4.0.

The report also shows a growing demand for governments in developed and developing countries to provide adequate necessary infrastructure and programs to empower workers to make the best of new opportunities. They also need to have national, regional and international legal frameworks to support small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers in e-commerce, and modern trade governance systems to protect the know-how and creativity of individual artisans and small businesses.

The report is available to download for free.

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