Stakeholders in the East African region are yet to establish a Regional Design Studio-RDS, a move that is looked at to address the existing shortfalls within the fragile leather industry.
The project as well as the training Workshop in Creative and Technical Design, according to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Trade Competitiveness Section will be held at Mombasa On Monday May 9– 12, 2016.
“The regional design leather studio once established, will 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,” a statement from the secretariat noted.
Experts believe that the project is also likely to trigger inclusive economic growth, effective policy mechanisms for integration and participation in the global trading system, informed decisions for improving trade competitiveness as well as industrialization.
Ultimaltely, the project comes at the time the region is grappling with the challenges 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.
But also, the inadequate institutionalized framework for supporting the designers and commercialization of their work to enhance exports in order to offset import bills the region incurs in importing second hand leather products.
Earlier this year, Regional member states initiated a move to ban second hand garments and leather products in the region n in order to strengthen local industries but also offset widening trade deficit affecting countries.
“We are putting a lot of efforts to boost our leather sector, so far we have already allocated enough land in Bugesera district for leather tanning industries Alex Ruzibukira, the director general for industries and SME development at ministry of Trade and industry said.
Rwanda is likely to benefit from the studio especially in its efforts to address the skills gap that is making it harder for the sector to get momentum.