Creative industries in the Gulf region

Innovative practices and creative solutions are essential for the growth and wellbeing of the region. The governments of GCC countries are more and more aware of the importance of creativity and innovation to a healthy and prosperous economy. Furthermore, there is an increased realization in the GCC region that art and design not only aid economic activity, but also contribute to documentation of progress, a country’s place in history, celebrating its people and their aspirations.

The area has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, mostly due to the surge in oil and natural gas revenues coupled with a construction and investment boom. The region is also an emerging hotspot for global events, with the Dubai World Expo 2020 and Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup leading.

The GCC is an attractive location for investment, tourism, a significant consumer market for imported goods and services, and information technology to one of the youngest populations that is considered to have the highest powers of spending in the world.

To decrease the dependence on the hydrocarbon industry the governments give political priority to economic diversification. A more diversified economy is inherently more stable, more capable of creating jobs and opportunities for the next generation and less vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles of oil and natural gas prices.

Upscaling infrastructure, education, health service, culture and leisure activities necessarily attract developments that invite creative input and solutions by the public and private sector alike. Increased private sector involvement as a part of diversification relates to foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI brings with it not only capital but also, and more importantly, jobs, new technology and new management methods, all items which these economies are in need of in their attempt to build and expand their societies into knowledge societies.