Art and creativity key to economic development


By Dr Tony Monda

A CREATIVE person is someone capable of analytical breakthroughs and discrete moments of realisation in clarity, thought, construal and innovation.
As such, creative minds are important for the development of education and economic prosperity.
Since the beginning of the new millennium in 2000, in the developed world, thinkers and governments have underscored the importance and need for a focus on creativity, innovation and human development to ensure future economic prosperity.
The same call is being endorsed by developing nations as espoused by the Charter of African Cultural Renaissance and collaborations between the European Commission and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU).
One might ask, “why is art and creativity necessary for the economic growth of a nation?”
Economic growth is driven by creativity, and economic development policies, especially in Africa where creativity abounds, should begin to embrace their creative potential and resources on a large scale.
Given the economic emphasis worldwide have shifted to a drive for sustainable growth-we will see more and more organisations, businesses and communities assigning greater value to human creativity.
As such Zimbabwe needs to embrace the ‘new creative age’, especially so in these times of slow world economic growth and fiscal uncertainties.
As a nation, we need to create support structures and logistical systems to elevate our creative workforce.
Zimbabwe’s economic development today requires the further development and use of human creative capabilities in all spheres of the economic productive strata. Economic prosperity would rely on an inclusive national formula which espouses cultural creativity, entrepreneurial creativity, civic creativity, agro-scientific creativity and artistic creativity.
It must be known that in the burgeoning ‘new creative age’, creative workers will be the ones who benefit significantly due to their ability to think ‘outside the box’. However, the challenges that face developing countries today are that policy makers in these nations have not embraced the development philosophy of the new creative age.
Our current educational and vocational training systems are failing to educate and train our workers for a creative economy; one which requires individuals to think creatively, be innovative and flexible in the face of change.
Hence the greatest challenge for nations, enterprises and individuals is to find ways to tap in and develop every human’s creative capacity.
In the educational sectors, training must be creative, entrepreneurial and innovative- to equip a nation’s populace, to develop into the innovative engine of our future economic prosperity.
Education in the arts and creative business studies will cultivate conditions and individuals that can express imagination and bring intangible ideas and concepts to reality.
However, our local education systems to date still do not provide tangible support for ‘innovation’ as a core component of their curricula.Teaching creativity in schools needs to extend beyond visual artistry and craft as it manifests itself in empathy not only to culture but to economics, business and overall development.
Isolated creative fundamentals such as cognition, foresight, insight, inventiveness, resourcefulness, perceptibility and vision can be employed in all spheres of a nation’s development.
The act of creativity itself is at the heart of progress and development and is one of the most important factors for sustainable productivity. Ultimately, it is creativity that inspires new creative endeavours in an ever-evolving exploration for human development.
It is time Zimbabwe embraces the new creative age.
Dr. Tony Monda holds a PhD. in Art Theory and Philosophy and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in Post- Colonial Art and Heritage Studies. He studied law and photography at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington and holds a Law and Art Diploma from Georgetown University, Washington DC. He worked with WALA – (Washington Area Lawyers Association. He is an author, art critic, art consultant and a practicing visual artist. He is also a musician, and Corporate Image Consultant.
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