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Support Handicrafts: African Governments Urged  

The handcraft sector has appealed for support from government to enable the sector to positively contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

In an interview with 263Chat on the sidelines of the ninth Coordination Committee for Development of African Handicraft (CODEPA) Conference, Mr Sié Théophile SIB, who is the secretary general, said it is imperative that handcrafting be prioritized as it brings about economic development.

He said most of the challenges faced by handicrafters are a result of lack of financing and poor institutions by responsible governments and there is need to harness the development of handcrafting through holding training workshops.

“The problems faced by those in the sector emanate from lack of financial support, poor institutions for crafting, uneven trade promotion policies and this hampers the development of the sector,

“Governments should see to it that these issues are addressed and it is one of our aims as CODEPA to foster for development of handcrafting in Africa,” he said.

Théophile added that although there was great development of handcrafting in Western Africa, the same priority needs to be extended to all African countries.

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives Development, Noveti Muponora, applauded the meeting for providing a conducive environment for the handcraft industry to decide on improving their growing businesses.

“Other African countries can learn a lot from how Ghana has managed to develop its handicraft industry as it has adopted a decentralisation approach which have seen the sector hitting a US$2,4 billion dollar jackpot in export receipts in the sector last year alone,” said Ghana’s Director of Handicrafts National Commission on Culture, William Baoteng.

Mosaad Abdelrahman Abdelrazek, Director of Handicrafts in Egypt emphasised the need to have clear policies that promote the development of the sector.

In 2016, Zimbabwe’s SMEs sector raked in around US$3,034 million in export receipts compared to US$900 000 realized in 2009 back by a raft of measures introduced by the government to help the SMEs sector.

Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, is expected to take over the presidency of the organ this Friday.

The three-day CODEPA conference is running under the theme: ‘The National, Sub-regional and Continental Policies of Development and Promotion of African Handicrafts: Appraisal and Perspective

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