Mohammad al-Rifai works at his atelier in Tripoli, Monday, July 7, 2014. (The Daily Star/Fathi Masri)
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Mohammad al-Rifai, 64, hammers a nail into a wooden plank, glancing at a painting of a bed's wooden headboard. He has been a furniture manufacturer since he was 12 years old, a craft associated primarily with the northern city of Tripoli. The only statistics regarding the number of small to medium enterprises that make furniture by hand in Tripoli come from the unions. The Union of Furniture Manufacturers, headed by Abdel Jawad Sharafeddine, said there were 2,200 small factories in the city, while the Union of Furniture Factories, headed by Abdallah Harb, reported the presence of 160 larger factories that produce thousands of different pieces. Negotiations are also underway for financial help from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is already implementing a community development project in the cultural and creative industry.There has also been an agreement with the Tripoli International Fair's administration to allocate an area of approximately 20,000 square meters as a permanent furniture exhibition area for thousands of small factories across Tripoli.
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