INDIA — Zimbabwe is one of five countries set to benefit from a $1 million fund to train and empower craftswomen in Africa.
National Institute of Design (NID) and the External Affairs ministry of India yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to support the initiative.
The initiative will cover countries for a period of three years.
Other beneficiaries include Malawi, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.
“This collaboration between the ancient civilisations with rich tradition in craft skills will further strengthen the bonds between India and Africa,” the statement said.
An NID team will visit Zimbabwe to identify 25 craftswomen who would be trained in India in collaboration with New Basket Workshop Foundation, an African non-governmental organisation.
The project aims at women’s empowerment through skill enhancement and appropriate marketing through leading Indian brands like Fab India.
In January, India Commerce minister Anand Sharma, during a meeting in Harare with his counterpart Welshman Ncube, said NID was undertaking a project for the training and exposure for craftswomen of rural Africa to empower them through design intervention in basketry making, as part of the India-Africa Forum Summit Action Plan.
India has assured it would assist Zimbabwe in reviving its textile sector. India will provide skills training and also help in the development of textiles clusters.
The two ministers also reiterated the need for enhancing and diversifying the bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at $128 million.
The two ministers agreed to convene the meeting of the joint trade committee within the next six months.
Product development and diversification will be achieved through a model of collaborative workshops bringing on board basketry artisans of both Africa and India on a common platform, along with designers and design students facilitating knowledge, experience and skill sharing in the process of design intervention.