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Recovery still slow in textile sector
Oct '09
Historically, the clothing and textile industry in Swaziland has been linked to international markets. Prior to Swaziland qualifying for the AGOA benefits, the textile industry was not a major contributor to the country's GDP. The textile industry suffered from a lack of local quality inputs and was not protected from competing producers in South Africa.

This led to Swaziland becoming a captive market for South African exports and was serviced by South African retail clothing chain stores such as Truworth, Edgars and Tru Pep. With AGOA becoming law in May 2000 in the United States, Swaziland became a beneficiary as from January 2001.

AGOA led to a sharp increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the clothing and textile industry, creating thousands of jobs. Government too embarked on a programme of de-centralization of the textile industry to ensure that even rural areas benefit from the emerging industry.

The textile and clothing industry not only plays a major role in the manufacturing sector, but also in Swaziland's economy as a whole. This industry has remained a major generator of employment because of its labour intensive nature. But people are losing jobs in the sector as companies are closing down with amazing regularity, since the last few years.

Another blow was dealt by, the recessionary trends which blew across the globe beginning from September of 2008 and which has taken out the winds from the textile sector in Swaziland and recovery from the same has been very slow. Most companies which were dependent on exports closed down in the early period of the current year, as order levels started tapering off.

The textile sector in the country is depending on the government to bail out the industry, as done for the sector by their respective governments in India, China, Pakistan and Vietnam. Many reputed textile companies like Spintex are only living on hope since the effects of a slow recovery in European markets has still not trickled down in the textile sector.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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