Monday March 4th, 2024
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New 'Herafi' Programme to Aid Artisans of Handmade & Heritage Goods

This program is designed to enhance the handicrafts and heritage sector as part of a comprehensive 2024 vision.

Layan Adham Ismail

New 'Herafi' Programme to Aid Artisans of Handmade & Heritage Goods

The Herafi programme, a joint effort between the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and various other banks, has been inaugurated in an effort to provide support to small-scale creators of handmade and heritage products. The programme is designed for individuals belonging to productive cooperative societies, productive families and small entrepreneurs.

The programme provides various support mechanisms to participants, such as simplifying the establishment of micro-enterprises, offering financing at reduced interest rates, providing training in small project management, facilitating participation in exhibitions and marketing platforms, and increasing awareness regarding pricing and the quality improvement of handmade and heritage products.

The Ministry's strategy for 2024 revolves around three main components: expanding economic empowerment projects for irregular workers, extending insurance and health protection to youth and women in the handicraft sector, and supporting the rejuvenation of traditional handicraft industries. The plan strives to create opportunities for doubling the exports of the creative economy, which amounted to USD 350 million in 2023 and provided employment to over two million people.

The initial phase of the 2024 programme seeks to train 1,000 small-scale producers across various handicraft fields, including textiles, jewellery, shells, ceramics, and traditional fashions. The programme also aims to provide financial education by familiarizing participants with the significance of savings and utilizing financial services offered by various commercial banks. These services include bank cards, electronic wallets, and free-of-charge bank accounts for economic activities, as provided by CBE for small craftsmen.

Additionally, the program encompasses guidelines on classifying the craftsmen’s ventures and leveraging the initiatives provided by CBE to support small projects. It also covers the relevant laws supporting small projects and guides participants on pricing their products in a manner that ensures effective marketing without exaggeration.

Introducing opportunities for extending insurance protection to workers in the sector, the training also includes a document titled ‘Your pension is in your hands’ for irregular workers, outlining the benefits and participation mechanisms, as well as the support provided to the families of these workers.

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