Egypt has allocated EGP 50 million to support Upper Egypt’s traditional handicrafts sector by making crafts more accessible for purchase in Egypt and the rest of the world,as part of a larger plan to develop Upper Egypt.
Over the years, Upper Egypt has garnered a reputation as one of the biggest producers of handicrafts in the country - and while that's awesome and all for those of us who think in terms of novelty shops and souvenirs, the reality is, it's often the only source of income for many Upper Egyptians. We can stick their wicker baskets knit together with their vibrant colours on our shelves or a length of detailed embroidery on our walls and call it a day, but for the artisans of Upper Egypt, that one item represents hundreds of hours crafting hundreds of those things, all for paltry pay. Egypt’s new campaign – under the Upper Egypt Local Development Programme (UELDP) - will allocate EGP 50 million from the Tahya Misr Fund to get these artisans the support they need to grow.
The funds will help increase the production of Upper Egyptian handicrafts while improving their quality, and make them more easily accessible for purchase, both in Egypt and overseas.
As part of the UELDP – which is being carried out in cooperation with the World Bank and other government agencies to develop Qena and Sohag – the fund contributes to an overall plan to develop industrial zones and make the economic viability of these governorates healthier, both for their own sake and in order to attract investors to the area. The programme has also been developing work systems by focusing on the role of IT and by bringing the local infrastructure up to date. So far, UELDP has created 250,000 job opportunities for the residents of the two governorates. EGP 160 million has been directed towards Upper Egypt in general over the past five years, with EGP 41 billion dedicated to Sohag and Qena alone.