Good Business Through Good Design.

Design Network Africa is a dynamic programme initiated by CKU, funded by the Danish Government and coordinated by Source.

The project links highly respected designers from East, West and Southern Africa who have been selected for their diverse voices, sophisticated and original product and unique global identities and who represent the vibrancy and distinctive expression of a new African identity. The programme has been designed to encourage collaboration between the designers, sharing common difficulties and solutions, mentorship and utilizing new manufacturing processes and materials in a true interchange of skills, aesthetics and narratives.

DNA is focused on identifying the specific areas of need of each company and is an immediate and business orientated initiative, repositioning the design companies in particular, but ‘African Design’ ‘in conjunction in the worldwide retail and media arena.



Design Network Africa is conceived, led and funded by The Danish Centre for Culture and Development (CKU), an independent institution under the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. CKU regards art and creativity as crucial parameters for sustainable, human and societal development and as key factors for democracy, human rights and growth. CKU therefore works for strengthening a vibrant, free and inclusive cultural life in developing countries as well as for enhancing the knowledge in the Danish population in the field.

Design Network Africa forms part of CKU’s regional Programme to strengthen the business dimension in the Design Sector in Africa by creating networks, building capacities, increasing originality and improving business skills of the selected companies, which by example will give encouragement and inspiration to other local design businesses.

Culture and art embody some of the fundamental qualities of being human – such as creativity, expression, communication and sociality. Studies show that these aspects are also important building blocks for societies to combat poverty, build peace and promote human rights and democratic development. The ability to problem solve, exercise voice, engage in public debate and build social capital are capabilities and assets that are essential to the process of empowerment.

CKU is currently engaged in culture and development programmes in 11 Danida priority countries in cooperation with the Danish embassies, and runs regional cultural programmes in the Middle East and Africa. The programmes are based on partnerships between artists and cultural actors in the developing countries and in Denmark.

CKU’s engagement in Denmark includes IMAGES festivals, artistic events through an Arts Fund, and a Youth Programme linking young artists from developing countries with Danish youth.

Based on challenges in the current global context, Denmark’s international commitments in relation to the human rights framework, has the following primary focus:

  • Empowering people through active participation in art and cultural activities
  • Ensuring freedom of expression for artists and cultural actors
  • Enhancing economic growth through creative industries
  • Strengthening peace and reconciliation in post-conflict areas through art and cultural activities
  • Promoting intercultural dialogue and intercultural collaboration.

Elsebeth Krogh, CEO

  • Head of Development Cooperation Programmes
Nytorv 17 / DK-1450 København K
Tel +45 3317 9705 / Mob +45 2924 2726 /


DNA is coordinated by The Guild Group, the leading promoter of African design to the global marketplace. Since 2004, founders Trevyn and Julian McGowan have supplied Southern African design to the leading retailers around the world and are responsible for significant growth in the local design industry and the majority of on-going design exports and developments. Trevyn and Julian are also founders of Source, an export agency for African design product, Southern Guild, showcasing collectable South African design on the highest international platforms, and the not-for-profit Design Foundation, which funds, supports and propels developing designers.

Trevyn and Julian McGowan
Founders and Directors

The Guild Group
Unit 2, 95 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa /
Tel +27 (0) 21 461 2097 /