Infrastructure and cluster development, A case study of handloom weavers in Ethiopia uri icon


  • Rural non-farm development plays a key role in generating employment in many developing countries. Clustering is an important industrial organization in the rural non-farm sector. Based on primary surveys of both urban and rural handloom weaver clusters in Ethiopia which took place in May/June 2008, one of the most important rural nonfarm sectors, this paper examines the mechanism and performance of clustering. The clustering way of handloom production is observed even in remote rural areas, illustrating its vitality and flexibility in adapting to restricted environments. Despite its resilience in surviving in harsh environments, improvements in infrastructure can significantly increase labor productivity in a cluster. In towns with electricity access, producers work longer hours than those in towns without electricity and more entrepreneurs with limited access to capital are able to participate in handloom production because of finer division of labor
  • This paper evaluates the impacts of access to infrastructure on development of handloom weaving clusters in Ethiopia based on a survey collected in both urban and rural areas. Geographical clustering enables entrepreneurs with limited capital to enter the business through shared workspaces and greater specialization of labor. In towns with electricity access, producers work longer hours by sharing workspaces with electric lights at lower rental cost, resulting in higher labor productivity

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009