GCC culture sector needs private investment to recover

Coronavirus renews fears of significant funding cuts in creative industry

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Saudi people gather during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 1, 2019.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Saudi people gather during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 1, 2019.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

The private sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions needs to be engaged and mobilised into investing in the culture sector, which now faces funding cuts as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a report by Oliver Wyman, investment from non-government contributors in the culture sector will be needed more than ever, as the pandemic renewed fears of fewer revenue streams.

“A mere reliance on government funding can bring fragility to the cultural sector,” Abdulkarim Alyousef, partner at Oliver Wyman said.

“Rethinking the relationship between our publicly-funded institutions and the private sector will benefit the creative economy by creating conditions in which it will flourish and become financially stimulated,” Alyousef said.

The global management consulting firm said that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been growing their cultural offering, part of the two countries’ economic diversification plans.

“For emerging and newly-industrialized economies, culture can have a positive indirect impact on a wide range of related sectors,” Alyousef said.

“It plays a role in diplomacy and international exchange, enhancing bilateral relationships with countries of geo-strategic importance while also improving international perceptions,” Alyousef added.

The report noted that policymakers should proactively enable and incentivise contributions from non-government stakeholders, particularly individuals and corporations.

(Writing by Gerard Aoun; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

(Gerard.Aoun@refinitiv.com)

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