The First Lalibela Arts and Handicraft Festival to be held in Lalibela, Ethiopia

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Lalibela, a town hosting the renowned rock-hewn churches, will be hosting the first-ever Art and Handicraft Festival that is aimed at diversifying its tourism offerings. To be held between October 26 and 27, 2019, the Festival will see more than 20 artisans exhibiting diversified portfolios of products ranging from paintings to leather products, and from pottery to jewelry and from textile to beeswax handcrafts.


Lalibela Arts and Handicraft Festival, which is going to be hosted at Geterge Road, is an initiative of a project, “Greening Ethiopia Manufacturing”, financed by European Union and implemented by a collaborative collation Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectorial Association (ECCSA) of Precise Consult International (PCI), and INOA, a Slovenian company.   


Beyond its well-known tourist sites, Lalibela hosts an ancient tradition and culture of producing artifacts and handicraft products. As such, the Festival will promote authentic and sustainable handicrafts made by local artisans and enrich the offerings of the town for international and domestic tourists.


The Lalibela Tourism Office supports Lalibela Art and Handicraft Festival. Opening on October 26, 2019, the Festival will see a delegation from the Lalibela city Mayor and the Lalibela Handicraft Cluster members


The handicraft industry is basically a cottage industry, accurate data, such as the number of enterprises, production, and job creation, was not available. According to the Director-General of the Federal Micro & Small Enterprises Development Agency (FeMSEDA), the job opportunities the industry creates are estimated to be 1.5-2miilion.  

Trade of Ethiopian handicrafts started several years ago, and some handicraft traders made deals with Germany, Italy, UK, and France. The magnitude of the trade is, however, still very small. Even the transaction value of the biggest trader is still 2,000-3,000 US$ per month, according to MoTI, which is insignificant compared to other industries. If the Ethiopian handicrafts could capture only a few percentages of the market, it would make a huge impact on the industry’s economy.


Although Ethiopia has a huge potential in terms of obtaining revenue from the handicraft sector, the sector remains underdeveloped. One challenge that remains to affect the sector is a lack of ways to ensure authenticity. As such, the Lalibela Art and Handicraft Festival will showcase the authentic values embedded for the local artisans and display them to a broader audience of international visitors. With many holidays and the picking season for Ethiopian tourism on the horizon, it is believed that the first-ever Art and Handicraft Festival in Lalibela will pave the road for enhanced visibility and market linkage.


For more information about the Festival, please contact Romha Alazar. Email: – [email protected]