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In development – a national export strategy for the craft and design sector

20 March 2018   (1 Comments)
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CDI members at Maison et Objet, Paris in 2017


With the backing of the national departments of Small Business Development and Trade and Industry, a task team has been appointed to drive the development of a national export strategy for the craft and design sector.


The CDI, along with colleagues from KZN and the North West, have been scoping a process for the development of the strategy. A core part of the process includes engagement with stakeholders.


The team is being assisted by Jim Tersteeg, a consultant appointed by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI). The CBI is part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and is commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. CBI’s mission is to contribute to sustainable economic development in developing countries through the expansion of exports from these countries.

Jim has been working with the natural ingredient sector in South Africa over the last two years and has helped them establish the Natural Ingredients Export Council. He has been working with the CDI on a number of programmes over the past five years and has a very good understanding of the context in South Africa.


The task team has identified four important areas that need to be ‘interrogated’ to inform a coherent and impactful strategy.


These are:
•    Skills & Design
•    Production
•    Commercialisation
•    Business enabling environment


The process to gather information from role players in the sector has begun with a survey that has been concluded in February and March. Over 400 responses have been received to date and are currently being analysed by Jim and the task team.


The next step will be a series of stakeholder consultations – planned for the three major centres – Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. They will take place early to mid-June.


“The input we are receiving from the many valued role players in the sector is greatly appreciated and we thank all those that have replied to the call for information. Ultimately this feedback will be critical to developing a strategy that addresses key challenges and opportunities,” said Fran Stewart, the CDI’s Market Support Manager.

“The idea of an Export Council for the sector has been on the agenda for a very very long time,” says CDI Executive Director, Erica Elk.

“It has been discussed as far back as 2004; and at the time it was decided that the sector was not ready for it – Export Councils require industry funding and participation; whether an Export Council is the right intervention or not for the sector is still in question, but either way we are in desperate need of a coherent and co-ordinated export strategy that helps us all leverage the relatively small amounts of funding to take maximum advantage of the growing export opportunities for our sector. The time is now!”

If you have not had the opportunity to participate, please click on the link to complete the survey:


If you would like to be on the invitation list to attend the stakeholder workshops, please email Fran at


Ceramix says...
Posted 12 April 2018
This is so exciting. May a solution be found so that we can get our products out there. The biggest problem within the craft industry is the high cost of shipping out of South Africa.

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