Indonesia steps up creative economy drive

Indonesia steps up creative economy drive

The United Nations has declared this year the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. Indonesia, having sponsored the proposal and proposed the theme of "Inclusively Creative: A Global Recovery", will lead the initiative to promote the creative economy, which is expected to become a new driver or prosperity.

The creative economy is an evolving concept that builds on the interplay between human creativity and ideas, and intellectual property, knowledge and technology. The British author John Howkins coined the phrase in 2001 to describe economic systems n which value is based on knowledge and imaginative qualities -- offering products and services that embody creative content, technologies, cultural values and market objectives -- rather than on more traditional resources such as land, labour and capital.

The creative industry in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, is broken down into 16 sub-sectors, such as application and game development, architecture and interior design, television and radio, and advertising.

The sector also has the potential to grow thanks to various factors including government incentives, a growing middle-class population and a large consumer market for creative products. As Indonesia's creative economy grows, it will generate more jobs for young people, women and older people compared to other sectors, paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive business environment.

President Joko Widodo's administration has set the ambitious goal of establishing Indonesia as a global creative economy player by 2030. To help achieve this goal it launched the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) in 2015 to support the development of creative industries in recognition of their potential to promote domestic consumption and increase earnings in foreign currencies.

Indonesia has also been active in promoting the development of the creative economy on the international level, including holding international conferences and seminars last August to encourage the gaming and creative content industry across Southeast Asia. In addition, it plans to host the World Conference on Creative Economy in Bali in November this year.

Indonesia's success helps show other countries, including Thailand, the benefits that come from developing the creative economy. At the same time, Indonesia's initiative will encourage the development of the international creative economy, which will play an important role in the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Suwatchai Songwanich is an executive vice-president with Bangkok Bank. For more columns in this series please visit

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