By Irene Gaitirira
Published May 9, 2016
An eastern and southern African regional leather design studio to address long standing design weaknesses and improve market entry of the region’s leather and leather products has been launched in Kenya’s coastal city, Mombasa.
The initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Trade Competitiveness Section in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)’s Leather and Leather Products Institute, the launch, on May 9, 2016, shall be followed by a four-day training workshop in Creative and Technical Design at Mombasa Continental Resort.
The designers’ training workshop brings together more than 50 participants representing national, regional and international partners in the leather sector in Swaziland, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Rwanda.
“The Regional Design Studio will address some of the design challenges facing the leather sector such as lack of mechanism to enhance the development of designing capacity at regional level; a lack of database of existing designers at the regional level; and inadequate institutionalized framework for supporting the designers and commercialization of their work to enhance exports,” the organisers say of the event that runs May 9-12, 2016.
Once established, the regional design leather studio is expected to “provide enterprises in the COMESA Region with the ability to use design strategically to open and transform new opportunities within a continually changing business landscape.”
Moreover, the studio will serve as a “common platform of bridging the gap between top global players and designers in the leather sector” besides helping “create more inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, effective policy mechanisms for integration and participation in the global trading system, capacity building for improved market access, and informed decisions for countries to improve their trade competitiveness and industrialization efforts.