State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdallah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said that Kuwait continues to place a huge emphasis on cultural heritage.
"We are obliged to work towards achieving cooperation in safeguarding this human legacy and committing to the aspirations of these inherited crafts," the minister said in a speech at the opening of an Arab-African crafts exhibition held at Kuwait National Museum.
The event is currently being held on the fringes of the Third African-Arab Summit, due in a week.
Sheikh Mohammad, who also heads the supreme committee for conferences, noted the importance of responding to the needs of Arab and African nations, particularly youth, where crafts are concerned.
Some of these crafts have existed for thousands of years and could one day face extinction if not cared for, which is why strategies and programmes are needed to protect this human heritage, he said.
This is one of the wishes of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and comes in response to his belief that divergence between cultures brings them closer and highlights their similarities, he added.
For his part, President of the World Crafts Council (WCC) Wang Sha, in a speech expressed gratitude for Kuwait's hosting of the event, which brought together 24 Arab and African nations, including 54 craftsmen from around the world.
For her part, Madagascar's Minister of the Crafts Industry and African representative to the WCC Elisa Zafitombo Alibena, expressed the view that crafts were probably not the answer to unemployment but remain a great endeavour that deserves to top national development strategies.
Alibena added that Africa, as is the case with other regions worldwide, currently lives under huge suffering as a result of globalization, economic depression and the sales crisis, particularly related to crafts.
The crafts sector has started to provide jobs and form the basis of income for some nations, and growing competition on the international scale has resulted in the formation of an African body tasked with developing these efforts.
For her part, Senior Vice-President of the World Crafts Council/Asia-Pacific Region, based in Kuwait, Ghada Qaddumi said she was thankful for Kuwait's role on the matter.
She said the event is hosting workshops, whereby craftsmen are showcasing their talents to the public, in addition to being a meeting place for craftsmen, artists and experts to meet and share their experiences.
For his part, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters Secretary General Ali Al-Yoha said that the event will also offer people a first-hand view of the traditional dress of these nations and local music recitals, along with the opportunity to visit the newly-built Kuwaiti museum