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AAFA inks agreement for best manufacturing in East Africa
23
Feb '17
Rick Helfenbein (left), president and CEO of AAFA, with Juan Estrada, chief of party, Hub; Courtesy: Hub
Rick Helfenbein (left), president and CEO of AAFA, with Juan Estrada, chief of party, Hub; Courtesy: Hub
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has entered into a partnership agreement with the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (Hub) to ensure best-in-class manufacturing of goods destined for the US from East Africa. The Hub works to promote two-way trade between East Africa and the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
 
The agreement, signed outside the African Pavilion at the ongoing MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, launches the ‘East Africa Cotton, Textile and Apparel Initiative’. The initiative aims to establish sustainable workforce development programmes and institutionalise environmental, social, labour and worker safety best practices in the region. 
 
US retailers and East African businesses will both benefit from the initiative. “Working in tandem with East African governments to raise industry standards, promote job creation, and increased trade and investment will ensure a win-win for trading partners,” the Hub said in a statement.
 
The Hub will work through the Initiative to help East African governments and private sector entities institutionalise the best practices and standards that American apparel, footwear, and travel good sourcing companies require. The Hub expects to support the creation of 45,000 jobs across Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda in the first three years of the initiative and create jobs and further growth in the US apparel, footwear, and travel goods sector.
 
Currently, East Africa is establishing itself as a key sourcing destination for global apparel, footwear, and travel goods buyers. The AGOA, which was recently renewed to 2025, and provides up to 35 per cent in duty savings for eligible countries exporting to the US, is a major incentive. The Hub’s new initiative will further cement US and East African business partnerships under the Act.
 
The Hub, in addition to working with AAFA on best practices, will work with governments and private sector organisations to establish and launch workforce development programmes aimed at equipping young East African men and women with the necessary technical and life skills to join the workforce in the apparel, footwear and travel goods industries. (RKS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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