16 November 2012

Ethiopia: Keeping Eye On Handicraft Sub-Sector


Ethiopia is endowed with a wide variety of cultural arts and crafts that represent its diversified ethnics, people's life style, beliefs, traditions or you name it. These art works are, however, not well tailored in a way they better off either the livelihood of the people or the image of the nation.

As Ethiopia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, the traditional art works- carvings, paints, jeweleries, and the likes- would attract as many tourists for the remembrance of the spots they give a visit in particular and the nation in general. Due to that upgrading the skills of the artificers, the quality of the art works and their design is squarely important to boost indirect economic contributions to the tourism sector as well as in creating jobs for thousands of citizens. More importantly, the artifacts and art works will play a great role in promoting the good image of the nation.

As the government of Ethiopia has attached due attention to the tourism sector, various supports have been given for Micro and Small scale Enterprises to produce a better quality handicrafts. Hence, tap the unobserved potential of the area. As a result, some encouraging changes have been gained so far, according to Aweke Tenaw, Public and International Relations Director for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

This being the case, another worth noticing issue is, some souvenir shop owners create confusion on tourists through deceiving them with handicrafts that are imported from neighbouring countries and feigning them as a local arts works. Available data have it that, this deceiving even goes to the extent of labeling materials that does not exist in Ethiopian flora as local ones. This worse act creates multifarious disadvantages. One it does not represent the nation at all and gives the nation wrong image. The other still daunting issue is that the importers compete foreign currency to import products which could have been produced here by follow citizens.

Therefore, the relevant stakes have a lot to do in employing the handicraft sub-sector for more job creation and promoting the nation's image, on one hand. And bringing the people who deceive tourists to the right truck, on the other. The ministry also need to provide packages to upgrade the handicraft sub-sector and integrate it with technical and vocational education and training system of the country.

Quadrupling best practices

The Ministry of Urban Development and Construction announced that the promising best practices with regard to job creation witnessed in the country so far, for instance in Tigrai State and Addis Ababa, have to be multiplied in other parts of the nation to make citizens benefited much out of the initiatives.

At the panel discussion carried out in connection with the fourth cities week being celebrated in Adama, it was also cited that since all stakeholders and the prime drivers of various activities are given the opportunity to actively take part in the planning process, it would be possible to bring about a meaningful difference.

Getting women and the youth organized themselves, letting them and other segments of the society be engaged in a number of income generating activities have how strongly helped citizens become self reliant ones, creative and change optimists. The undertakings which are highly advocating change and progress run by many have to be expanded to various parts of the country. To do this, actors, operators and those who have a direct connection with a range of income generating activities have to be part and parcel of the planning body. True, whenever activities are planned it should be taken as compulsory to provide the direct actors with ample chance to forward their concern. This helps facilitate conditions to give people job opportunities as per their abilities and interest. It is also instrumental in identifying priority areas, singling out opportunities and potential challenges as well as coming up with possible solutions to the problems, if any. If this is so, everyone could be productive in the area they have been engaged. It is what has been carried out in Tigrai State and Addis Ababa City Administration especially in Gullelle Sub-city. The best practices in all aspects must be quadrupled if we are to bring about real social well being, progress and change.

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