(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Fostering creative industries can spur economic growth and create jobs in addition to promoting international cultural cooperation, Jordanian and European officials said at a forum Sunday.
Inaugurating the EuroMed Forum on Creative Industries and Society, which began on Sunday on the shores of the Dead Sea, Culture Minister Salah Jarrar said creative industries must have an economic impact in order to have a cultural impact.
"Cultural industries that do not have positive impact on local development and do not serve local communities are a lost cause. This type of creativity has the advantage of promoting cultural cooperation between different societies, encourages exchange of knowledge and boosts bilateral and multilateral ties," the minister said.
He underscored that domestic policies must focus on incubating cultural creativity in order for this sector to be an active player in the economy and job creation, and to encourage innovation among the public.
Spiros Polycandriotis, who heads the trade and economic section at the EU delegation to Jordan, pointed out that creative industries contributed 6 per cent of the EU's gross domestic product and employed more than five million people, adding that in many European cities, creative industries constituted more than 5 per cent of the workforce.
"This field of creativity adds to the regional dimension of job creation. We call on local and regional existing incubators to help in the business management and support this sector in order to be active player in local development," he said.
Around 250 participants from Arab and European countries are taking part in the event, which Al Rai Centre for Research (ARCR) organised for the first time in the Kingdom in partnership with the European Network of Cultural Centres.
The forum aims to highlight creative industries in Jordan and discuss the best means to promote and develop them and build an interactive connection between creative industries and end users, according to organisers.
The forum has two main objectives: to offer cultural and civil society actors in the region a chance to meet in order to create a network across borders, and to record their expectations in order to conceptualise the structure of the European Union National Institutes of Culture's long-term project in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Marc Jessel, the British Council's country director in Jordan, highlighted the key strategic importance of the creativity sector in building the identity of a society, noting that cultural creativity is another facet of cultural dialogue among nations.
ARCR Director Khaled Shaqran told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the event that the forum would offer an opportunity for the participants to interact and discuss challenges and issues of mutual concern, with the goal of seeking solutions to obstacles hindering these industries.