Place-Based Development of Egypt's Handicraft Clusters: A Review of al-Darb al-Ahmar Cluster in Historic Cairo

Karina Rodriguez Echavarria, Myrsini Samaroudi, Omniya Abdel Barr, AbdelHamid Salah, Nesreen Sharara, Noha Ali, Abdelrahman Aboulfadl, Sahar Sakkout, Jane Smythe, Tim Weyrich

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report aim to elucidate strategies to foster the sustainable development and support the digital transformation of the handicraft industries in Egypt. In particular, the report presents the interdisciplinary research co-developed during the project, its methodology and findings of the current state of the craft cluster al-Darb al-Ahmar in the historic centre of Cairo. The methodology used for the research includes desk-based research and a business survey with a sample of 30 micro- and small- enterprises which were interviewed during the period of September to December 2022. The survey included a range of close and open-ended questions to identify the existing capabilities, challenges, and opportunities, including their capacity in the design and manufacturing of products, their efforts towards knowledge transmission, their state of digital literacy as well as their financial sustainability. The report concludes with a set of recommendations which aim to safeguard and enhance traditional woodwork crafts, build capacity within makers and workshops and shape a sustainable future for traditional woodwork crafts in the area of al-Darb al-Ahmar in Cairo and beyond. In particular, it highlights the need for 1) a place-based innovation investment strategy, 2) recognition of ‘artisans’ and the value of the craft, 3) the development of skills and capacity building to underpin innovation, and 4) a mixed strategy which involves the documentation of the craft and investment to prevent the disappearance of key handicraft industries. Our intention is to contribute towards addressing these needs to foster this key industry which represents, amongst others, the cultural heritage and history of Egypt.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBritish Council
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


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