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Cultural and creative sector sees slight rise in earnings

Covid-19 has had a negative effect on the arts industry.
Covid-19 has had a negative effect on the arts industry.
Image: 123RF/perig76

The cultural and creative sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) improved slightly this year.

This was revealed by South African Cultural Observatory (Saco) on Friday when it released its report which looked at the impact of the pandemic in the sector.

Business owners and freelancers were interviewed.

According to the report, macroeconomic modelling estimated that the cultural and creative industry's (CCI) direct contribution to the SA GDP fell from R84.3bn in 2019, to R42.2bn last year – a drop of 50%.

While there has been some slow recovery in 2021, which is expected to continue, the contribution  to SA’s GDP  this year is forecast to be R46.9bn

Evidence from the report indicates that the online environment is becoming increasingly important for CCI business continuity and that the shift to digital business models remains important even after the pandemic has passed.

A much greater proportion of respondents to  this year's survey (64%) than last year (35%) reported moving their business activities online, and 66% of respondents said they would continue online business activities post-Covid.

The research further shows that while business continuity improved for all domains, recovery was slower for domains with high levels of informality, for those with a greater proportion of freelancers, as well as for those who operated in a mostly face-to-face mode.

The report showed that the most vulnerable domains were performance and celebration, audio-visual and interactive media, and visual arts and crafts.

Technical and support workers were also one of the most negatively impacted sub-sectors.

Saco executive director Unathi Lushaba said: "While the creative sector in its entirety is one of the most severely affected, the report gives us a good picture of which subsectors should be given priority in recovery strategies."

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