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Kenya, a potential apparel sourcing hub
Jul '16
Courtesy: Hivos East Africa
Courtesy: Hivos East Africa
As production costs rise in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa offers the last frontier in the search for new apparel sourcing markets. With a strong apparel tradition, a large and entrepreneurial workforce, and an attractive business environment, Kenya is a compelling new sourcing destination for global brands. However, Kenya also has a deep well-spring of talent among fashion designers and small tailors, who can serve both the global, domestic, and regional markets, according to a report titled 'The Kenyan Textile and Fashion Industry: The role of fashion designers and small tailors in the fiber to fashion value chain.'

The report focuses on how Kenyan designers and factories can capitalize on these opportunities. The study was commissioned by Equity Bank-Kenya, in collaboration with HIVOS and the Association of Fashion Designers of Kenya.

It offers a development strategy and action plan to develop and strengthen an inclusive and sustainable “Fibre to Fashion” (F2F) value chain, in which local fashion designers and small tailors can play a meaningful role on the domestic and global manufacturing and retail scene.

The report has proposed integrating local designers and small tailors into the domestic retail trade, and strengthening the National Fibre to Fashion Value Chain.

It has also proposed the creation of an enabling environment to support the growth and development of MSMEs in the Textile and Clothing sector.

The report proposes strengthening the trade support network through institutional alignment and building capacity of MSMEs to become market ready and export ready.

It has also proposed enhancing the visibility of Kenyan designers and their design capabilities in the country, East Africa and the global markets.

The Textile and Clothing (T&C) sector, although a marginal player in the national economy – contributing just 0.6 per cent to GDP and accounting for only 6 per cent of the manufacturing sector – still earns 7 per cent of total export earnings and holds tremendous economic promise. The Kenya Vision 2030 identified the T&C sector as the driver of Kenyan industrialization.

The sector currently comprises 22 large foreign owned companies operating in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs), 170 medium and large companies, 8 ginneries, 8 spinners, 15 weaving and knitting companies, 9 accessories manufacturers and over 75,000 micro and small companies, including fashion designers and tailoring units. It spans the Fibre to Fashion (F2F) value-chain (cotton cultivation, ginning, spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing, garment and accessories manufacturing).

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