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Rwandan textile industry looks for investors
Dec '15
Rwanda is desperately looking for investors in textile industry to overcome a chronic clothing shortage that has forced the country to spend millions of dollars on the import of second hand clothing.

“Every year, we spend over $15 million to import second hand clothes. Wearing such clothes is not worth our value,” said Claver Gatete, Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, according to a report by Rwandan news agency KT Press.

Rwanda spent an average of $57 million on textile imports annually between 2008 and 2012, according to Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

At the 13th National Dialogue, Gatete said that Rwanda needs investors in the textile industry to provide quality clothes and more importantly create more jobs.

The country is targeting to create 200,000 new jobs every year, but this target has not been achieved in the last two years.

Rwanda created 146,000 jobs every year for the last two years; 54,000 jobs short of the annual target.

Rwanda has two textile industries, Utexrwa and C&H Garments, a Chinese textile company. Since 1984, Utexrwa has been running at 40 per cent capacity. It produces about 12,000 meters/year, and has a turnover of $ 3million.

However, Utexrwa produces uniforms for students and other institutions, but does not produce for retail consumption.

In 2014, China's C&H Garments also built a franchise in Kigali, which produces for the export market, especially European stores.

The company has invested in automatic computerized sewing machines with a capacity of training 200 local workers at start-up. The number of workers is expected to reach 400 in two years.

Officials at RDB said the plant will soon introduce its products into the market.

“We have to go by quantity when we export. Our goal in Rwanda is to export garments to the US and Europe, leaving about 20 per cent of our production for the local market”, said Malou Jontilano, General Manager of C&H Garments Ltd.

During the National Dialogue, Senator Tito Rutaremara suggested that there must be a paradigm shift in attracting investment to boost the industry sector in Rwanda.

He said Rwanda can apply the “Copy and Transform” approach, “because building new industries from scratch can cost us huge in import of some equipment.” (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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