Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the world’s Silicon Savannah, the Africa Digital Media Foundation (ADMF), functioning as a project of the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI), has been working since 2012 to advance the regional creative economy.
In 2015, ADMI’s social impact work was consolidated under ADMF, a Kenyan non-profit Company Limited by Guarantee, comprising a 7-member Board of Directors and a Secretariat. Under its mandate, ADMF promotes the creative economy across Africa, providing both purpose and employment for Africa’s youth. Our activities are organized under 5 pillars: Inclusion, Inspiration, Influence, Investment and Voice.
A recent survey commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation found that the digital economy in Africa faces serious challenges. In the 6 countries surveyed Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya, over 2 million high potential young people enter the job market each year to find only 41,000 inclusive digital jobs. This means that to create the high-value jobs that are desperately needed in Africa, it is not enough to increase and improve training opportunities, we must grow industries-quickly and at scale- that can absorb the well-trained youth.
At Africa Digital Media Foundation, we believe that the creative industries hold the key to unlocking this dilemma. According to the UN, the creative economy is one of the “most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy and a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings” (United Nations, 2013). Not only are these industries capable of disruption through technology, they also hold particular appeal for the youth, while offering access to opportunities in the larger global economy. It is clear, that if well- structured, the creative sector can generate huge transformative social and economic impact to our society. Statistics indicate:
• In the United States, creative industries employ over 27 million individuals.
• In Europe, creative industries contribute $600 billion to the European economy and drive 10% of exports.
• In China, spending on creative and cultural goods surpassed 97 billion USD in 2009.
• In California, the world’s 8th largest economy, creative industry generated more than 3.3 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2012. The creative industry is greatly influenced by technology and it is predicted that technological advances will disrupt the processes used to create, market, distribute and consume creative goods. According to Creative Startups, the result of this combination is likely to be “explosive economic growth”. We have to take advantage of this opportunity and we have to take it now.
At the heart of the creative economy are industries that lie at the crossroads of arts, culture, business, and technology. What unifies these activities is that they all trade creative assets – or intellectual property – to generate economic value. At the Foundation, we have adopted the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) definition of the creative industries as those with “their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and . . . potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”. At present this covers nine creative sectors, namely:
1. Advertising & Marketing (including Branding & Public Relations) 2. Architecture
3. Art, Antiques & Crafts
4. Design: Product, Graphic & Fashion Design
5. Film, Television, Video, Radio & Photography
6. IT, Software and Computer Services
7. Writing & Publishing
8. Museums, Galleries and Libraries
9. Music, Performing & Visual Arts