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Cultural & Creative
Kenya’s creative sector yet to weave into global boom
The creative economy is on an upswing globally, fuelled by increased spending power of millennials and becoming a key contributor to the gross domestic product. The size of the global market for creative goods has expanded substantially, more than doubling in size from $208 billion in 2002 to $509 billion in 2015, data by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows. “The creative economy is recognised as a significant sector and a meaningful contributor to national gross domestic product. It has spurred innovation and knowledge transfer across all sectors of the economy and is a critical sector to foster inclusive development” Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of UNCTAD said. “Whether it be arts and crafts, books, films, paintings, festivals, songs, designs, digital animation or video games, the creative industries are more than just sectors with good economic growth performance and potential. They are expressions of the human imagination spreading important social and cultural values,” said Dr Kituyi. Global market But even with the potential of the creatives industry, Kenya and other developing countries are yet to tap into this lucrative global market. Creative goods exports from Kenya stood at Sh4 billion ($40.9 million) in 2013 compared to Sh19.5 billion ($195m) in imports, latest available data by UNCTAD shows. Besides the performing arts, visual arts and cultural heritage, Kenyans produce films, videos, television and radio shows, video games, music and books. There is important work being undertaken in the graphic design, fashion and advertising subsectors. “These creative activities need to be anchored in political and governmental commitment and concrete support,” UNCTAD reiterates. “Fashion can be a major growth driver. The textile industry is the second largest employer in developing countries, but most artisans are trapped in domestic markets with no links to international trade. In Kenya, like many other African countries, the domestic textile industry has suffered because of the ‘race to the bottom’ by global brands seeking out low-cost labour.” Well compensated Despite the trade imbalance in Kenya’s creative economy, there have been investments into the country’s creative industries both by individuals and by institutions. For these players, it is important not just to grow financially but to ensure that the artisans are well compensated. “There tends to be a focus on economic growth driven by business growth and investment into financial services, infrastructure, technology and other mainstream sectors,” says the British Council which this year invested in a seed financing facility for cultural heritage businesses in partnership with HEVA fund. “This can be at the expense of wider society, resulting in already marginalised groups being further excluded and there being little reduction in poverty levels. So there is a need to work for a more inclusive pattern of growth to mobilise the talents of a greater cross section of the population,” the British Council says. For jewellery firm Kipato Unbranded, which sells locally as well as exports to Singapore, Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, France and Germany, it is important that the artisans, who hail from Kibera, Kawangware and Rongai, earn enough money to sustain themselves. “Kipato came about because it is the Kiswahili word for income. Where businesses are not mainly focused on ethical consumerism, they produce goods only for profit and the producer, whoever is making your jewellery or your clothes is not getting a fair wage. They end up being squeezed to something really small,” says Kipato founder Marta Krajnik. “People globally aren’t aware that their purchasing pattern trickles down to the producer. They don’t think about it at the point of purchase. That happens both globally and in Kenya, in terms of awareness of handmade goods especially,” she adds. “Generally, people are open to paying if you tell them how they are made and where they are made. We want to make sure that the artisans are making a good standard of living based on what they are creating so they are not being taken advantage of.” According to the UNCTAD report, Kenya’s top export partners for creative goods are Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, US and Italy. Others include Burundi, Somalia, the DRC, Rwanda and the UK. Kenya has gained ground to be among the top 10 export partners for countries such as Botswana and Ethiopia. The value of both imports and exports to Botswana was $0.02 million (Sh2 million) each. The value of Kenya’s exports to Ethiopia was $0.51 million (Sh51m), 1.76 times the value of imports from the country. However, it also lost its position among the top 10 export partners for Malawi and Mauritius. Malawi exported creative goods and services worth $0.22 million (Sh22m) to Kenya in 2005 compared to $0.12 million (Sh12m) imports from the east Africa nation. In the same window, Mauritius imported items worth $4.02 million (Sh400m) from the creative industry in Kenya compared to $0.11 million (Sh11m) in exports to Nairobi. Latest data showed the trade imbalance between Kenya and Rwanda grew 46 times in the period between 2005 and 2014 to stand at $36.92 million, attributable to their growing fashion and design industry. Garments sector Fortunately for Kenya, its textile industry is picking up after decades of a slump due to mismanagement and stiff competition from cheaper imports and second-hand clothes (mitumba). The garments sector in Kenya has more than 40,000 workers, according to a report by development organisation Hivos. A past study by Hivos and Equity Bank said the textile industry in Kenya is fragmented, hurting its growth. According to the report, most of the local players operate in isolation with no linkages to the retail platform. Kenya has more than 75,000 micro and small companies, including fashion designers and tailoring units. An estimated 80 percent of them operate in the informal sector. Last year, the Treasury slapped imported clothes and shoes with higher import duty to protect local companies from cheap imports amidst anxiety that mitumba sellers would lose their jobs. The new import duty was $5 (Sh500) per kilo (from $0.2 [Sh20]) or 35 percent, whichever is higher. In the past, the EAC countries have proposed a ban on importation of second hand clothes but backed down after the US threatened to suspend Uganda and Tanzania from duty-free access to the US and Agoa (Africa Growth Opportunity Act). Rwanda currently faces a ban. Still, institutional partners believe Kenya harbours much potential that requires concrete governmental commitment to drive innovation in the sector. “Kenya was selected because there is a demonstrable need for the programme, there are strong partnership opportunities and it has the capacity and infrastructure on the ground to deliver the programme in a people-centred way. Also, as an East African travel and technological hub, Kenya is pivotal in other cultural heritage conversations occurring in neighbouring East African countries. Connecting cultural heritage, creative economy and tourism will — long-term — support the development of an intergovernmental policy framework and highlight the sector’s potential contribution to inclusive growth in Kenya, East Africa and the UK,” says the British Council.   Source : https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/datahub/Kenya-s-creative-sector-yet-to-weave-into-global-boom/3815418-5018892-vnepw2/index.html
Cultural & Creative
How couple is turning old tyres into reliable source of income
When a tyre wears out, it marks the beginning of a journey for Mr John Ndung'u and his wife Esther Waithera. The couple collects old tyres and with just a pairs of pliers and a knife they build chicken cages. This is the job they have been waking up to execute every day in the last 20 years. With proceeds from the venture, they have been able to feed and educate their children who have also been offering a helping hand during weekends and public holidays. Waithera says that each of the children makes between two and three cages over the weekend. “Our children have come to love the job, they join us during their free time. It is part of their fun,” says Waithira. A short distance from where the couple is stationed, dozens of cages of different sizes and design tailored for chicks aged one day to a month are displayed. Each of the cages can comfortably hold between 30 and 50 chicks. A pickup arrives during the interview and the entire stock of cages is sold and loaded. The couple is still left with tens of streaming customers to contend with. “The cages are on high demand. We have a long list of customers waiting. The biggest challenge is not the market, but to supply demand," notes Waithira. Unfortunately, many jobless people are unwilling to learn the trade and get employed at the workshop, laments Waithera. After his secondary education, Ndung'u worked as a casual in construction sites before joining his father who was selling second-hand clothes in Kakamega. He later started a similar business in the same town but it collapsed seven years later due to stiff competition. The father of three shifted to Engashura in Nakuru County where he met his future wife. Together they did casual jobs in the farms. But the jobs were hardly available, and the newly married couple could hardly put a meal on the table and had challenges paying the rent. When the going got tougher, Ndung’u recalled of rat traps he had seen in Kakamega and thought of how to make them bigger for poultry farming. “My neighbours were in constant fights over chicken trespassing in the neighbourhood due to limited space in urban areas, or chicks’ disappearance,” says Ndung’u. He got a tyre and tried to cut, thread and model a cage, but it wasn’t an easy task. “It took us two days to cut the tire, my husband was giving up, but I recalled his passion when we were discussing the idea,” recalls Ms Waithira. She convinced her husband and they made the first cage which they sold to a neighbour at Sh500, a double amount of what they both earned doing casual jobs. With time, they perfected their art, attracting more customers. They resolved to train a young man to help them meet the rising demand. “When the trainee quit we learnt our lesson and decided to charge Sh15,000 for new trainees," says Ms Waithira. In 2008 the couple move to Ol Kalou in search of a better market for their goods. The couple could then make between five and eight cages daily, each selling at Sh550 and Sh850 depending on size and model. “It’s a rewarding business but most people shun it because it is dirty. But we are happy, we live a comfortable life, our three children are in best schools,” said Mr Ndung’u. She says the biggest challenge is high competition for old tires with buyers coming as far as Ugandan. Before competition for raw materials became stiff, the couple used to collect the tires in the streets and garages at no cost, but is now forced to buy them at between Sh20 and Sh50. “They have caused an acute shortage of the tires. They buy in huge quantities and we have to allow them to leave the country before we can get our supplies. We source the tires from as far as Machakos and Nakuru counties,” says Mr Ndung’u. His wife is proud of the job despite people looking it as a man’s job. “My friends thought it very abnormal of me to engage in the trade. They discouraged me claiming it’s a man’s job. But I am happy with it,” says Ms Waithira. To expand the business, the family plans to buy a piece of land in Ol Kalou town, where they will construct a bigger workshop, shifting base from the rented premises.     Source : https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/enterprise/How-couple-is-turning-old-tyres-into-income/4003126-5103014-t9o797/index.html
Cultural & Creative
Taiwan In Design Cutting-edge design and unique products from Taiwan
For the first time, “Taiwan in Design” will join Life Instyle Melbourne August 1- 4, where it will present over 350 brands to thousands of retailers. In 2019, you will discover cutting-edge design and unique products from Taiwan - that you will love. "Taiwan In Design" is a major project organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). It is a design showcase and trade mission through which, we hope to inspire interest in cultural and business opportunities between Australia and Taiwan. "Taiwan In Design"  From Mass Manufacturing to High-End Design "Taiwan In Design" brings together the work of 11 exhibitors, designers and brands in a showcase of Taiwanese design at Life Instyle Melbourne 2019. The project offers an unprecedented opportunity for Australian and Taiwanese design cultures to learn from one another, and to exchange ideas. Designs on display - from fashion to electronics, kitchenware to toys – demonstrate how Taiwan has shifted from a post-war manufacturing powerhouse to a design-led culture, producing original, high-quality products. TAITRA welcomes you Founded in 1970 with a mission to support foreign trade activities, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is the foremost non-profit trade promotion organization in Taiwan. It assists Taiwanese businesses and manufacturers to increase their international competitiveness and successfully enter new markets. Taiwan's dynamic economy offers a wide variety of business opportunities. Its strategic location, infrastructure and capital make the island an ideal springboard for business and trade activities in Asia and the Pacific Rim. TAITRA welcomes you to Taiwan and is ready to support your entrance into the market. If you seek quality products with meaningful origins, please visit us at a premium trade event between August 1 - 4, at the Royal Exhibition Building, to discover cutting-edge design and unique products from Taiwan - that you will love.   Organizer: Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA Taiwan External Trade Development Council, TAITRA Booth no.2070
Cultural & Creative
Quest for Perfect Persian Carpet
As you wander along Old Town in Mombasa, an intricate carpet catches your eye. Inside, large and small Persian rugs with embroidery festoon the walls, while others sit on the floor.01_BODY_TEXT_RIGHT_RAGGED: At the heart of this vibrant operation is Aziz Kaderbhoy, one of Old Town antiques shop owners who sells carpets made from natural dyes to those sewn from fibres of finest quality wool and silk. This shop feels like a private museum but the antiques and carpets have price tags. Mr Kaderbhoy has been in the Persian rugs business for more than 30 years now. “We started the shop around 1984. We saw a market for handmade carpets and started importing carpets from Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Our major clientele was tourists and a lot of hotels,” he says. At Gallery Mashaallah, he has stocked carpets of different colours, designs, lengths and patterns ranging from Sh10,000 to Sh3 million. “The cost depends on the size and quality. You can get ones that go up to Sh3 million especially some silk pieces which come from Qum, a town in Iran that has highly collectible rugs,” he says. When Mr Kaderbhoy started the business, the handmade carpets used to be brought to Mombasa port by dhows. Now he travels to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan to select them. Getting authentic Despite the influx of carpets and rugs in the Kenyan market, the 60-year-old says, the famed Persian carpet still maintains its competitive edge in luxury living. “Persian carpets and rugs are works of art, it is a very specialised market,” he says, adding that because the art of weaving carpets has been ignored by young people, the demand for ancient carpets keeps growing. “Today in Iran and other carpet-making countries, very few people want to sit down and make a rug. The younger generation are less into the art. In the next 20 years, the practice of hand weaving might die off. Today a small carpet measuring 5 by 3 metres can take four to five months,” he says. Nomadic tribes mostly weave the carpets and every city in Iran has a unique handicraft. “We go to different villages to source for different carpets. Nomads who move from one town to another make the carpets in between their travels. Many people prefer the tribal nomadic carpets. They are unique and more expensive than others that are made in bigger towns and are more commercialised,” Mr Kaderbhoy said. When buying a Persian carpet, Mr Kaderbhoy, advises you look for an authentic one. What material is the rug made from? Is it is cotton or silk? What about the quality of the artisanship? If you want intricate rugs with high knot counts, you may have to pay more. “The more the knots the higher the quality. The finer the carpet the more expensive it is,” he adds. Also, choose your source wisely. “If you are first-time buyer you have to trust the seller. Experienced dealers will help you in sampling. I can tell from the knot and weave if a carpet is handmade or machine made,” he says. Mr Kaderbhoy says because the carpets are made from delicate sheep hair, dyed with herbs and then painstakingly weaved and coloured, he recommends professional cleaning and repair to maintain them. “Handmade carpets are usually made out of natural and vegetables dyes. If you soak it in water, it runs. You have to be very careful. At the shop, we clean using special brushes and detergents,” he said. Over the years, Mr Kaderbhoy has sold his carpets to hotels in Mombasa and homeowners in Nairobi. “I have sold to hotels in South Coast including Baobab Beach Resort and Spa, Kole Kole, Leisure Lodge and recently another one in Kilifi. We also have clients in Nairobi. When we started most embassies used to buy from us,” said the carpets seller who studied Business Administration in university and took after his grandfather’s artistry of tribal rugs and eye for antiques. “We are one of the oldest Asian families here. My grandfather was a very good antique collector and had them in his house,” he said.   Source : https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/lifestyle/design/Quest-for-Perfect-Persian-Carpet/4258320-5098258-ngqqcuz/index.html
Cultural & Creative
Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia Named Among World’s Top Destinations
Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia has been named among the world's 100 sustainable tourist destinations. The 56,000-acre private wilderness, which has lodges and tented camps was among the few destinations in Africa awarded at ITB Berlin tourism trade fair. Hotel rooms in the conservancy range from Sh70,000 to Sh225,000 a night. Tourists get to visit Samburu villages, ride horses and camels in the wilderness and walk with sniffer dogs with their handlers as they track poachers or keep fit. Elewana Lodo Springs, the latest hotel to be built in Loisaba Conservancy will be opened in June. Chumbe Island in Tanzania was the best in Africa. It has a protected coral reef sanctuary and a forest reserve with rare wildlife. Palau that has the world's first shark sanctuary and has banned the sale and use of sunscreens containing toxic chemicals that can kill corals, was the winner. “These destinations lead the way towards attractiveness and sustainability in tourism. They provide best practice experience to avoid overtourism problems as we have seen in many iconic places,” said Valere Tjolle of TravelMole Vision on Sustainable Tourism. Another African destination in the list was Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda famed for mountain gorillas. The park allows only eight visitors per gorilla group each day to reduce stress on the apes.   Source : https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/lifestyle/travel/Loisaba-Conservancy-in-Laikipia-Named-Among/3815716-5057118-5t8urt/index.html

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