BERF Kenya: Creative Economy Diagnostic, March 2017


The purpose of this study was to highlight the business environment challenges that hinder growth and development in Kenya’s creative economy, their root causes, and make recommendations for reforms with the objective of improving economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. This follows a good East Africa study published by Hivos in 2015.

The Creative economy in Kenya

The ‘creative economy’ is important because cultural assets generate economic growth and development. These assets include economic, cultural and social assets, which interact with technology and intellectual property to produce a vibrant economy. The creative economy is made up enterprises from different segments (private, civil society, public) that are collectively seen as forming the ‘creative industry’. Kenya’s rich cultural heritage needs to be harnessed to contribute as much as possible to national development.

In the period 2007-2009 the creative economy of Kenya was worth approximately 5.3% of GDP, notwithstanding the challenges faced by this sector. With appropriate institutional, policy and regulatory reforms among other private sector related reforms, the Government believes this sector could become a key catalyst to economic growth and development; potentially doubling its contribution to the GDP to 10% by 2020.

Recommendations and Conclusions

The report included the following recommendations:

  • Establish a Creative Economy Apex Body for Public Private Dialogue within the next 6 months to institute an all-inclusive institutional, policy and regulatory reforms in order to improve the investment climate and business operating environment for the creative economy.
  • Develop systems for Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship for the creative economy.
  • Develop infrastructural facilities for use by the creative economy entrepreneurs.

This report concludes that success in making the creative economy’s growth relies on eliminating constraints and making the private sector business environment more conducive to the creative industries. This objective is embedded in the Public Private Dialogue structures that the government and the private sector will form through the proposed Apex Body and their engagement.