Say Africa (and more generally, developing countries) and you think of raw materials and low cost products. Or, alternatively, sunsets, unspoiled nature and picturesque landscapes.
Well, there’s much more. It’s not me saying this, an entrepreneur in love with the southern hemisphere, but UNESCO, which has been publishing a report on the state of the creative economy in the world since 2008 and this year, for the first time, it published an issue devoted to emerging countries. A nice thick volume of over 200 pages packed with data (don’t worry I will spare you the detail: you can find out more if you’re interested), but also stories. Like a warehouse on the edge of Nairobi’s industrial discrict that has become a center for hosting events of great artistic value, creating culture, employment and income. Or a group of intellectuals who have created something similar at a small library in Harar, Ethiopia. And many other examples, also in Asia and Latin America.
The creative economy, which works with ideas, has many advantages and can do much for economic, social and environmental progress. It is rapidly expanding, inclusive, with no high barries to entry and is ecologically sustainable.
For these reasons it is a positive sign that emerging countries are participating: they have no shortage of culture, beauty, history, art and landscape. And for us Italians, famous around the world for our creative heritage, but at times a little lazy in promoting it, is a useful reminder.