SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Terry, Mary Elizabeth (1999) The economic and social significance of the handicraft industry in Botswana. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (44MB)


This thesis aims to determine the economic, financial, social, and cultural significance of the handicraft industry of Botswana to selected individuals and their households and to the nation as a whole. Because the importance of the handicraft sector to development in Africa is generally unappreciated, the main aim of the study is to establish whether handicraft production in Botswana is as important as other non-farm, small-scale industries. Using disproportionate stratification and clustering, a nationwide quantitative survey of individual craft producers, production enterprises and marketing outlets was conducted. Data on non-craft industries were obtained from secondary sources. To compare different craft categories and to determine the value of the craft and non-craft sectors, cost-benefit models were developed for ten craft categories (basketry, beadwork, skinwork, leatherwork, carving, weaving, textiles, pottery, jewellery and miscellaneous crafts) and for ten non-craft small-scale industries (beer-brewing, grass/reed collection, hut building, veld products collection, hunting, sewing, bakery, blockmaking, metalwork and milling). This study shows that the handicraft industry has an overall positive impact on individuals working in the sector, their families and communities, particularly rural dwellers, those with little or no formal education and other marginalised people. Benefits for individual producers and enterprises in rural areas are greater than in urban areas. Producers having access to consistent purchasing by formal craft organisations or by tourists benefit the most. Social and cultural benefits derived from craft activities are greater than from non-craft activities, while producers' incomes are comparable. Nationally, both sectors provide financial and economic net benefits, but the non-craft sector provides more overall income due to its larger size. The craft sector shows higher economic efficiency than the non-craft sector, although the latter has higher average profitability. This research in Botswana substantiates research in other developing countries about the significance of off-farm incomes and income diversification on rural and urban dwellers' livelihoods. These findings justify government and non-government support to increase the handicraft sector's positive impact on poverty reduction, employment creation, social welfare, culture, and the economies of Botswana and other African countries.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item