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    Galerie Indigo, Mali: West African Artisans Find an International Outlet

     

     
     
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2001

    The Galerie Indigo in Bamako, Mali, appears to be a handicrafts store. In fact, it is the outlet for a network of some 100 craft associations, cooperatives and individuals from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. Products selected for export include traditional textiles, Tuareg boxes, leather pouches, silver jewellery, knives, pillows, wrought iron, wood utensils and statues, and traditional jewellery from the three countries.

    The Galerie's founder, Mamadou Léo Keita, was the commercial director of Mali's International Company for Trading, Marketing and Export. He was selected by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to take part in a programme in the United States entitled "Entrepreneur International". At the time he was trying export gum arabic. This made him aware of the potential in the business. His products were so well received and sold so well that he was invited to send exhibits to an African Market Place in Los Angeles, California. This year brought him his first exports and offers of partnership. Galerie Indigo in 1999 generated US$ 48,000 in revenues, US$29,000 of which was derived from exports, and five times more than its original capital investment. From selling Malian artisanal products to Europe, the Galerie has expanded to selling artefacts from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, to Chile, Peru and the United States as well as Europe. It has eight full-time staff and a workshop in another part of the capital that employs six people at periods of greatest demand.

    Contact: Mr. Mamadou Léo Keita, Galerie Indigo, place de l'OMVS, B.P. 757, Bamako, Mali. E-mail: indigo@spider.toolnet.org


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