Source: Ethiopian News Agency
Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hans Blanknberg said the handicrafts sector is one of the sectors that employs and benefits women more than many other economic sectors in Ethiopia.

Speaking at the opening of 'Merkato Festival 2012' organized in collaboration with the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) and the Netherlands Embassy Ambassador Blanknberg said it is therefore a sector that deserves support from private sector organizations and development partners.

The current intervention by the AACCSA has resulted in bridging the capacity gap in the sector to a certain extent.

However, since all the challenges of the sector cannot be addressed in limited projects, the Chamber has to continue its endeavors of supporting the players in the sector.

The ambassador said the handicraft sector in Ethiopia has also clear comparative advantages beyond its colorful look. Like the diversity of its people, Ethiopia has highly diversified products of cultural industry that can be made available for sale at local and foreign markets.

Owing to its unique cultural, religious and historical circumstances, Ethiopia's handicraft has also distinctive features that can compete in foreign markets, the Ambassador Blanknberg said.

AACCSA President Ayalew Zegeye on his part said AACCSA is providing different services to the business community.

Efforts were exerted to expand good practices with a view to building capacity of the business community during the last couple of years, he said.

ACCSA Merkato Branch Office Manager, Fikirte Lijalem also said more than 40 micro and small-scale enterprises are taking part in the event.

Some of the participants, Adanech Yeheyis and Lamrot Kassahun on their parts said the festival will help to create market ties.

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