Frequently asked questions

Why focus on cultural and creative industries?

Cultural and creative Industries (CCIs) account for over three per cent of world trade, with over US$420 billion in annual exports and an average annual growth of approximately nine per cent. The large majority of developing countries are not yet able to harness the skills and creativity of their people, however. Countries in the Southern Mediterranean have shown great interest in the new sources of inclusive and sustainable development that could be created by cultural and creative industries.


Which CCIs sectors are covered by the project?

The project covers all cultural and creative industries (CCIs) sectors, grouped in four main categories for ease of reference:

  • Cultural media:
    • Audio-visual — including film, photography, radio, television producers and broadcasting companies
    • Music — including music producers and live-music promoters
    • Publishing — including publishers, literary agents, printing houses, archives and libraries
    • Videogames
  • Live culture:
    • Performing arts — including theatre, dance and related companies
    • Visual arts — including sculpture, painting and art galleries
    • Heritage management — including organizations managing museums, archaeological and historical places as well as companies supplying specialized products and services to these organizations
  • Design-based industries:
    • Fashion — including clothes, shoes and jewellery
    • Habitat industries — including furniture, lighting, home textile and decoration
  • Professional creative services:
    • Communication and advertising — including communication agencies, graphic design companies and professional music and multimedia producers
    • Interior design, architecture and construction


Why is it important to foster clusters and cluster initiatives?

Clusters and cluster initiatives can help small and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of common opportunities arising from closer cooperation and integration. Evidence from developing and developed countries alike shows that collaborative relations and joint actions are more likely when enterprises operate in proximity and share business interests such as purchasing inputs, developing branding and finding markets for products, improving infrastructure, etc. Within such agglomerations of firms or clusters, spatial proximity fosters mutual knowledge and trust — the building blocks of joint actions — and therefore creates strong incentives to undertake joint initiatives. The possibility of sharing fixed costs increases the cost-effectiveness of joint activities, while the critical mass of involved firms increases the potential impact of their activities.


The European Union is the main donor of the project. Why is the project important for it?

The European Union is a very strong supporter of inclusive and sustainable development in the Southern Mediterranean; at the moment, it supports private sector development initiatives at the macro, meso and micro level in excess of EUR 1 billion. Furthermore, two joint communications of the European Commission and of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy call on partner countries to support the adoption of policies that are conducive to stronger, sustainable and more inclusive growth, that facilitate trade, innovation and investment partnerships and that develop micro, small and medium-sized enterprises while promoting industrial cooperation. The project will complement the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) as well as regional programmes for private sector development activities, green entrepreneurship, intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity and any relevant future programmes. It will also complement the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) SMEs and Job Creation project in the region. The project will also take stock of existing national and regional cluster activities and experiences and will liaise where appropriate with the European Creative Industries Alliance and the Mediterranean Creative Industries Alliance. It will also build on pilot projects carried out so far in individual countries and at the sub-regional and Euro-Mediterranean level. Due attention will be paid to lessons learned from these pilot projects. The Italian Development Cooperation is the second donor of the project, with a contribution of EUR 600,000.


What is the role of UNIDO?

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the implementing agency of the project. The Organization is responsible for formulating the project and for suggesting and implementing all technical solutions brought forward. UNIDO will provide a project team that consists of programme managers, national project coordinators, cluster development agents and project support staff based in each country as well as of international and national consultants. UNIDO will deliver management, technical and training services; the Organization will mobilize other international and national experts according to the specific needs of the beneficiaries that will be further specified in the inception and implementation phases. Some specific services such as the organization of business missions, design and implementation of promotional tools, etc. may be subcontracted to external service providers.


How can an interested cluster participate in the project?

A call for proposal was launched in each target country and interested clusters or cluster initiatives submitted applications. Two clusters per country have already been selected (for more information, please refer to the country pages under “Beneficiary countries”).


How were clusters selected? Was the selection process fair and transparent?

The selection criteria for the call for proposal was based on whether the submitter could be considered a cluster and how it scored on several pre-determined factors, such as the complementarity of products and the potential for market access. The selection process was be overseen by the country’s national steering committee (chaired by the Government and composed of the donors, the implementing agency and numerous observers from public and private organizations), which forwarded its selection to the regional project steering committee for its endorsement.


Which kind of assistance is provided to selected clusters?

Each selected cluster will receive technical assistance in the implementation of cluster methodology as well as in the implementation of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) strategy for cultural and creative industries. In addition, each selected cluster will receive new equipment to improve its operations. Furthermore, each selected cluster will be assisted in its market access activities. At least one cluster in each target country will receive UNIDO assistance.


Do non-selected clusters also benefit through the project?

Yes, the project foresees the implementation of a web platform that will facilitate information and knowledge sharing. In addition, in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean, workshops and seminars as well as regional conferences will be organized to further disseminate relevant information and foster networking among entrepreneurs in cultural and creative industries.