The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) is working with the relevant authorities to provide all possible support to Egypt’s handicrafts and heritage sector, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea.
Gamea, who also chairs MSMEDA, noted that the authority’s effort fall under the directives of Egypt’s political leadership to work on the advancement of this sector and help it overcome the challenges it is facing.
Egypt’s labour-intensive handicrafts and heritage sector provides jobs for a large number of citizens, especially in the border governorates, Upper Egypt and tourism-centric governorates, Gamea said.
The minister explained that there are about 250 handicrafts and heritage complexes across Egypt covering about 120 crafts. These complexes provide tens of thousands of permanent and temporary jobs in registered projects and factories.
There are also a large number of projects in the informal sector, which the state is working to integrate into the formal sector so they can access financing and training to develop their products. This would eventually qualify them for export facilities, which will, in turn, increase their ability to compete in the local and international markets.
Gamea added that handicraft projects, once provided with the proper conditions, can make a qualitative leap in the economic and social lives of a vast swathe of Egyptians.
This will have a particular effect on women, who are distinguished by their ability to develop and innovate in handicrafts. Those with special needs will also be positively affected by the integration of improved work conditions, to ensure they can effectively participate in the production process. This helps empower them economically, and improve their standard of living.
The minister pointed out that the “Torathna” (Our Heritage) exhibition, organised by MSMEDA, is the largest exhibition serving the handicrafts and heritage sector.
It is organised periodically to allow the largest number of project owners and workers in this sector exhibit their work.
The exhibition is a unique experience, representing a window to market the handicraft and heritage products, whilst gathering hundreds of project owners, NGOs, and university students from various governorates. It provides handicraft project owners the opportunity to meet, exchange experiences, conclude complementary and reciprocal deals, and identify market needs.