The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), as part of the development of the Department’s support strategy for digital industries, is embarking on a multi-pronged approach.
In September 2014, at the start of this project, DEDAT issued an RFI regarding the Digital Content Creation industry. The RFI closed in October 2014, was analysed in November and an industry briefing was held in December 2014. At the briefing session, the need to continue with the dialogue was reiterated. The idea of an online discussion as well as more one-on-one meetings to was discussed. In response, DEDAT set up a process incorporating monthly one on one meetings and focus group meetings. In terms of online discussions, DEDAT would like to use the skills intelligence platform that it is developing. In the meantime, in order to kickstart the process, African Ideas has offered to host the discussions as an interim measure.
As part of this process, DEDAT is hosting 4 focus groups over the next 4 months. The focus group sessions will take the form of 2 - 3 hour facilitated workshop sessions with interested industry participants. The first focus group session will be held on the 24 June 2015 with the topic "What are your biggest barriers to growth and expansion of the industry? What do you think government should do or not do to help the industry?"
There are indications that the digital content industry offers significant economic and cultural benefits to the African economy. While Africa is currently a small player within the global digital industry, it has the potential to grow.
For example, just the digital multimedia games development sector is worth around US$20 billion globally. In South Africa, PWC has estimated that “the South African entertainment and media (E&M) market will generate estimated overall revenues of R175.4 billion in 2017, having increased from R104.8 billion in 2012 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9%. Internet will remain the major force behind the growth in E&M revenues”. In 2012, World Wide Worx stated that the South African digital economy currently stands at approximately R59 billion or 2 percent of South Africa’s GDP (Agriculture contributes 2,1 percent to SA’s GDP – to give a sense of perspective). The digital economy is growing significantly. E-commerce is growing at 30 percent a year and the potential for expansion is great when one considers that more people are coming online as a result of the increase in the use of smartphones and cheaper broadband rates. In South Africa, as broadband becomes more prevalent and TV’s gain more intelligence, the switch from Analogue to Digital TV broadcasting will create significant opportunities for creativity and innovation. TVs are already capable of connecting to the internet. Jobs in the ICT industry will open up for young people and the Internet will be the starting point on this path forward.
Additionally, Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world. Initiatives like the Rockefeller Foundation Digital Jobs for Africa (DJA) recognise that as Africa’s economic growth continues, the digital economy will have a net positive impact on jobs and income generation, particularly for youth.