November 20, 2009

OECS member states to get expert help

Member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are to get expert help to measure the contribution of some of the newest industries to their economies.{{more}}

The assistance is coming from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and it will equip technocrats in measuring the contribution of creative or copyright-based industries to economic activity in the OECS region.

This will be the vital first step towards improving the policy framework and business environment for development of the region’s creative industries.

The support from WIPO is being provided in response to a request from the OECS Secretariat for assistance in undertaking a Study on the Economic Contribution of Copyright-Based (Creative) Industries. It will help underpin the advocacy component of an action plan arising from the 2nd Annual OECS Development Conference held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April 2008.

At that meeting creative industry stakeholders, national and regional policy makers and development partners, resolved to work towards making the creative industries a major pillar of economic development for the OECS region.

Creative industries are defined as those industries that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.

They therefore comprise clusters of economic activity that rely on copyright protection, and include literary works, music, artistic works, photography, motion pictures, and computer programmes, most of which receive some protection under national copyright laws.

Based on studies that have been undertaken in other jurisdictions, these industries are known to have considerable impact on national economies, registering major contributions to national income, employment and exports. As part of the wider services sector, creative industries have been recognised as being of increasing economic importance to the OECS, at a time when there is an urgent need for the region to diversify its economies around activities in which the OECS can exercise a comparative advantage, while reducing over-reliance on tourism and to a lesser extent agriculture.

Head of the OECS Macroeconomic and Sectoral Policy Unit, Rodinald Soomer, said the study would not only be valuable as an aid to formulating development strategy and policy, but will also be useful in demonstrating in measurable terms to the citizens of the OECS the economic potential of their creativity.

The Study is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2010, as a collaborative effort of WIPO, the OECS Secretariat, national statistical offices, national intellectual property offices, collective management organisations and creative industry associations throughout the OECS.