Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Artonomics is the UAE’s new growth mantra

Filed on April 4, 2021

The emirates will soon be the hotspot for artistic talents who want to pursue a career in creativity.

The UAE is a country that sells dreams. People from all over the world flock to this country with the dream of either earning a bigger salary, having a better standard of living, or earning for a safe future. Economic advantages always topped the aspirational list for the hundreds of thousands of expatriates who call the UAE home. But that narrative is fast changing.

The emirates will soon be the hotspot for artistic talents who want to pursue a career in creativity. A global economic capital that has relied on trade and tourism is cashing in on creativity to spur economic growth. It is all poised to transform into an oasis of creativity and imagination with the all-new ‘Dubai Creative Economy Strategy’ as announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It aims to double the number of creative sector firms from 8,000 to 15,000 within five years.

The programme will also see the number of creative professionals go up from 70,000 to 150,000 in the Emirate, thereby creating more jobs in the sector.

What Sheikh Mohammed put out is a fine blueprint for a booming cultural economy. Traditionally, culture is seen as a creative pursuit of an imaginative mind in an intellectual space. Artists are assigned to play an important yet specific role in society as creators of ideas, thoughts, sentiments, without having to do much with the economic development of a state. The new strategy will close the stereotypical gap between economy and culture and turn creative pursuits into a viable economic activity. Sheikh Mohammed said the goal is to raise the contribution of this sector to the emirate’s gross domestic product from 2.6 per cent to 5 per cent.

What the Ruler is proposing is a grandiose vision to capitalise culture by rolling out the requisite legislative, investment and technical frameworks that will help creative talents set up shop in the country. Then culture and the goods and services it provides will be a production input with an economic potential. While the long-term cultural visa launched by UAE for artists, writers, designers, performing artists and other creative talents will turn the UAE into an incubator of creativity and a hub for talent, the economic strategy behind it is what will tempt them to stay longer and make the best of the expanding cultural landscape of the country. It will be a give and take that will benefit both parties.

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