Dubai to prioritise the growth of Dh23bn culture and creativity sector

The sector accounted for 2.7 per cent of the emirate's economy in 2019

Alserkal Avenue, an arts district in Al Quoz, Dubai. The emirate aims to grow its creative industry as it moves to diversify its economy. Courtesy Alserkal Avenue
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Dubai is prioritising the growth of its Dh22.9 billion ($6.2bn) cultural and creative sector amid plans to develop integrated infrastructure and introduce financial products to draw investment.

The emirate set up a framework to assess the health of the sector and established a network to understand the needs of its creative community, the Dubai government said yesterday.

The sector accounted for 2.7 per cent of Dubai’s economy in 2019, compared with 2.6 per cent in 2018, according to the country’s first statistical study on the performance of Dubai’s creative industries.

Output value stood at Dh22.2bn in 2019, compared with Dh20.8bn in the previous year.

The emirate outlined a five-year plan in April to raise the sector's contribution to its economy to 5 per cent, boost the number of cultural and creative institutions to 15,000, create 140,000 jobs and grant long-term visas to creative people who are ready to establish their businesses in Dubai.

“The study's results showcase a positive and healthy sector performance,” said Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture.

She said the government efforts to develop the sector are "also fully consistent with the diversification endeavours of the economy and sources of income for the creation of new and promising economic sectors”.

Dubai Culture has a clear strategy to support the creative economy and create an integrated system with incentives and funding programmes through its private and public sector partners, said Ms Badri.

The emirate has made the creative economy a priority – not only during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic but also in the decades to come – as it seeks to become a global centre for creative industry investment, she said.

The study shows that the number of profitable businesses in the cultural and creative industries increased from 8,352 in 2018 to 9,772 in 2019, with job creation growing by 9.6 per cent from the previous year to 75,998 employees in 2019.

Small and medium institutions accounted for 99 per cent, or 9,749 businesses, in the sector in 2019, the study showed.

The development of Al Quoz Creative Zone as a strategic pilot project and the future establishment of other integrated creative zones within the emirate in the coming years will have a "great impact in supporting the sector's health and promoting the attraction of more creative companies, entrepreneurs and capital working in this field", the government said.

To expand the sector, Dubai will develop integrated infrastructure to anchor the creative community and the production of creative goods and services.

The Al Quoz Creative Zone will be an integrated creative area that will support the sector in Dubai and allow the emirate to compete with other cities. Other creative areas will be set up in the future.

The emirate will also offer new and innovative financial instruments and credit lines that direct investment into the creative economy and support entrepreneurs with the best ideas.

It will also establish the Dubai Creators Network, a gathering of people and institutions working in the creative economy, to identify their growth needs.