Cultural and creative industries

Despite government efforts to assign more importance to cultural and creative industries (CCIs), exogenous factors have resulted in a decreased support for CCIs in Palestine. Private companies in CCIs mainly work in design-based industries, with only a few operating in other CCIs sectors such as advertising or theatre. A large number of civil society actors work to promote Palestinian identity, cultural heritage and the preservation of culture. Like the rest of the industries in the country, CCIs in Palestine have suffered from mobility restrictions and export limitations that affect the overall competitiveness of companies.


Existing cluster framework and cluster programmes

There is currently no specific national cluster policy; however, the Ministry of Economy is participating in a cluster initiative from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, or French Development Agency), which seeks to develop five cluster initiatives. Three out of the five cluster initiatives relate to cultural and creative industries and were identified during the mapping exercise (furniture in Salfit, leather and shoes in Hebron and stone and marble in Bethlehem).


Potential clusters in cultural and creative industries

The main clusters belong to habitat industries (stone and marble and furniture), decoration products (pottery and glass), textiles and religious gift products; they include:

  • Embroidery in Hebron
  • Furniture in Nablus
  • Furniture in Salfit
  • Garments in the North of the West Bank
  • Leather and shoes in Hebron
  • Pottery and ceramic in Hebron
  • Religious gifts (olive wood carving and Mother of Pearl cluster) in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala
  • Stone and marble cluster in Hebron and Bethlehem
  • Textiles and garments in Bethlehem


Other economic realities in cultural and creative industries
  • Glass in Hebron: despite its long tradition and its main concentration in Hebron, it lacks the necessary critical mass to be considered a cluster
  • Architecture in Ramallah: around 20 companies are based in Ramallah and most of them are focused on the local demand, which does not meet the cluster criteria
  • Advertising in Ramallah: the companies mainly address the local markets and lack the critical mass to be assessed as a cluster


The two selected clusters 

Furniture cluster in Nablus:

  • Sector: furniture sector in Nablus
  • Strengths: the proposal is led by the Nablus Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the strong involvement of a group of 14 local actors, based on a historical manufacturing cluster in the region. The cluster has a good critical mass with more than 300 companies and more than 5,000 employees, with a very good coverage of the value chain. The proposal is based on a clear strategy and well-elaborated objectives, with the main strategic challenges being in product development and access to international markets. It is not participating in any other cluster initiative or project
  • Weaknesses: environmental issues were not considered at length and not enough detail was given regarding the effect of the cluster on social inclusiveness


Traditional handicrafts cluster in Bethlehem:

  • Sector: handicrafts sector in Bethlehem
  • Strengths: strong group of 20 members including producers of traditional handicraft products (like olive wood carving, mother of pearl, embroidery or glass) together with agents within the touristic value chain (such as tour operators), resulting in a good market segmentation approach. The objectives and strategy of the proposal were well elaborated and consistent with the competitive advantage of the cluster, linked to positioning products together with the Holy Land and Bethlehem brand worldwide. The cluster is not participating in any other initiative or cluster development project
  • Weaknesses: the cluster has a low critical mass (50-100 companies), although this is certainly lower than the estimations done within the project’s mapping exercise (almost 200 companies)


For more information, please contact:

Mr. Ahmed F. ELFARRA
National Programme Coordinator