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Dubai: Cultural sector employs over 100,000 creatve talents, Sheikha Latifa says

Dubai’s creative sector has contributed to four percent of the Emirate’s GDP



Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Chairperson Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, UAE, addresses the World Government Summit in Dubai. 30, March 2022. (Photo: Shihab)
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Chairperson Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, UAE, addresses the World Government Summit in Dubai. 30, March 2022. (Photo: Shihab)
by

Meher Dhanjal

Published: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 9:20 PM

Culture is more than just soft power and Dubai’s creative sector has contributed to four percent of the Emirate’s GDP, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority of UAE told the World Government Summit on Wednesday.

“Culture is soft power… we are told. But I have to disagree. Culture is power. Social and economic power,” said Sheikha Latifa, who is the daughter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“Culture and creativity is what makes us human. It is what we need in the face of adversity. A creative city is a resilient one."

Though it is hard to quantify the value add of culture to an economy, she said Dubai has 14,700 cultural institutions and businesses, employing over 100,000 creative talents.

The creative sector’s 4 per cent contribution to Dubai’s GDP, she said is higher than the global statistics. “Before the pandemic, the culture industry contributed to annual global revenues of $2250 billion, that is 3% of the global GDP. She said the sector employees more young people than any other sector.

Sheikha Latifa said one of the most important commitments the government of the UAE has made towards the creative sector is creating the world's first 10-year cultural visa.

“I can say that now 5000 creatives in Dubai hold the 10-year Golden Visa,” she said.

Elaborating on her father’s vision to turn Dubai into the next global creative metropolis, Sheikha Latifa said Dubai has put in place one of the easiest and hassle-free conditions for creative entrepreneurs to thrive.

“Freedom of entrepreneurship is very important to have culture. We will make Dubai the easiest place for creatives to set up and operate.”

She credited the “flexible government system” of Dubai that keeps people’s interest and happiness at its core, for making it possible to create a one stop shop for creatives who wants to invest in Dubai.

“Creatives can now go online apply for all the necessary approval and obtaining creative license in seven minutes. We worked on flexible freelancing licenses. And we're now working on many more changes,” said Sheikha Latifa.

Dubai has already cemented itself as a regional leader and it is now growing steadily into an international cultural platform. Dubai has the region’s most vibrant and packed cultural calendar with the Dubai Art Season, Dubai Design Week, which are two most prominent creative festivals in the region in addition to other annual cultural events, she said. “At a time when defiance against globalization and migration is rising, Dubai keeps building bridges in culture."

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Six years ago, when the Dubai drew up a blueprint to boost the cultural scene of Dubai, Sheikha Latifa said the best approach for them was to replicate the business and investor friendly climate of Dubai.

The country has the right infrastructure for creative industry to thrive. She said when Sheikh Mohammed launched the 10-year National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries, "one tweet set the vision for the entire industry."

From establishing a creative zone in the heart of the Al Quoz industrial area to having freelance visa for creatives, the right ecosystem is being created.

Five key targets are identified under the strategy. Supporting talent, making culture and creativity accessible to everyone everywhere, focusing on Dubai’s creative economy, enhancing culture and experiences to reach a global audience, and the last one being ensuring our national heritage is preserved and globally recognized.

All these measures were made possible, she said because of a common goal and vision.

“This vision has been instilled in us by our government. And it says that everything we do and everything you work on has to lead to the happiness of people,” she said.


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