The artisan sector is significant and growing

So here’s an interesting fact! Did you know that the artisan sector is the second largest employer in the developing world, behind agriculture, worth around $32 billion every year? Millions of people, particularly women, in developing countries around the globe are key drivers of the artisan economy - and that’s certainly the case on the African continent. They are producing handcrafted goods often utilizing traditional skills of all types to build businesses that can sustain themselves, their families and their communities. The artisan sector is significant and growing - international trade in artisan goods more than doubled between 2002 and 2012. Yet ironically, these very same artisan businesses are seldom recognized as drivers of real economic growth. But it’s important to remember that countries in the developing world have a competitive advantage in the artisan sector because of their rich cultural traditions, diverse artisanal skills, and unique raw materials. And that is certainly the case on the African continent. So it’s perhaps time to start acknowledging the truly important role played by women artisan entrepreneurs in driving Africa’s future economic growth, and at the same time, ensuring that traditional craftsmanship skills are both preserved and taken to the next level.