Bank officials discuss financing of services exports and creative industries

15 April 2013

How to capture the potential of services exports, and of creative-industry products such as films and music, was the topic of a recently held meeting of officials from export-import banks.

The Technical Workshop on Financing Services Exports and Creative Industries was organized by the Global Network of Eximbanks and Development Finance Institutions (G-NEXID), in cooperation with UNCTAD.

The workshop, which was held on 10 April 2013, discussed the role that services exports and creative industries can play in growth and development, and reviewed ways of financing such growth.

Jean-Louis Ekra, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Honorary President of G-NEXID, opened the meeting by saying that expansion of the services sector and creative industries in developing countries is becoming imperative, considering how much they contribute to growth and development.

Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, termed creative industry products "a human entry point to globalization".

Participants at the meeting exchanged views on such topics as the composition of value chains, and the effects of value chains on income generation through sources such as merchandise sales, professional fees, and the licensing of intellectual property. Participants also said there is a need to support such progress through innovative means of financing.

A representative of the Eximbank of India described the bank's experience as a pioneer in financing the Indian film industry across the value chain, from production and distribution to the showing of films. The Indian Eximbank and Nigerian Eximbank have been cooperating to expand their respective film industries, which now have global reputations.

Representatives from the International Trade Centre (ITC) discussed the opportunities, challenges and prospects involved in promoting creative industries in developing countries. They also summarized ways to access financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, including those involved in creative industries.

An UNCTAD official reviewed the role of transport services, infrastructure and information technology (IT) in the development of services exports. Another representative of UNCTAD said that an important issue is the contribution of creative products to poverty reduction - a crucial matter as the 2015 deadline for achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals approaches. The film industry, he stated, can generate employment in such areas as production, wholesale and retail distribution, television, festival work, and cinema operation.

A representative of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) stressed that significant expansion of the creative industries in developing countries is dependent on protection of the creative goods produced, through copyright enforcement. This enabling factor is enhanced when governments, the legal system and the business environment work together.

The technical workshop was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, with the cooperation of UNCTAD, WIPO and ITC. It was preceded, on 9 April 2013, by a meeting of the G-NEXID Steering Committee, at which UNCTAD participated as an observer.

Participants at the Technical Workshop on Financing Services Exports and Creative Industries