Craft Supply Chains in Africa: Consolidating Our Findings

Chris Bonner

Bonner, Chris. 2024. Craft Supply Chains in Africa: Consolidating Our Findings. WIEGO Resource Document No. 41. 

Key Points

  • In Africa, craft production is an important source of livelihoods for home-based workers, especially women. However, craft supply chains in Africa are not well understood. 

  • Craft making is labour intensive and is based on indigenous knowledge and skills. Despite their significant contribution to domestic and export earnings, craft products and craft makers are undervalued. 

  • Craft supply chains in Africa are complex and varied. Products pass through a series of intermediaries, with export chains typically longer than domestic chains. 

  • Craft makers face many challenges that limit their earning potential. These include product design limitations, difficulty in accessing raw materials, low productivity and quality, and dependence on intermediaries for work, information and linkages. 

  • Craft making provides a means of livelihood and agency for women. However, power often remains with men who capture or hold higher value occupations and more powerful positions in the chain. 

  • To effectively engage with supply chain actors and governments, home-based craft workers need to better understand the supply chains they are part of. Building strong organizations of home-based workers is a prerequisite for such engagements and for improving home-based workers’ economic and social situation. 

Informal Economy Theme
Informal Economy Topic
Occupational group
Publication Type