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ILO-IFC launch programme to support apparel industry in Madagascar

Nov '21
Pic: Serhii Neznamov|Dreamstime.com
Pic: Serhii Neznamov|Dreamstime.com
Industry leaders launched the Better Work Madagascar programme last week to transform the country’s apparel industry by improving working conditions and business productivity.

The programme, a collaborative effort between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with support from the European Union (EU) and government partners, employers’ and workers’ organisations and global brands, will contribute to employment generation and inclusive growth.

Garment production is the economy’s main driver of growth in exports and formal employment creation in Madagascar, contributing to a third of total goods exports and over 100,000 jobs, 60 per cent of whom are women.

“It is through a compliant and competitive value chain that we can cement Madagascar’s position as an outsourcing hub, thereby contributing to the country’s sustainable growth,” said Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO assistant director general and regional director for Africa.

“This is a positive step towards creating a better future of work, in which all women and men in Madagascar have access to decent work,” she was quoted as saying in a Better Work Initiative press release.

Madagascar has been severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy has been shaken by the decrease in exports, loss of market share and loss of jobs. Thus, the timing for this intervention is crucial and offers an opportunity for development for the sector.

The planned intervention aims to boost the country’s compliance and competitiveness via a two-pronged approach:  by providing services like training, advisory and assessment support to garment factory managers and workers based on proven Better Work tools and methodology; and by targeting industry stakeholders from the government, employers’ and workers’ organisations to strengthen their skill sets and respective roles in the country’s supply chain.

The Better Work approach is one built to enable national actors to carry on with an improved way of working, so that the positive changes instituted by the programme are sustainable.

In 2020, Better Work concluded a feasibility study in Madagascar to assess the garment industry’s needs and potential collaborations with the industry’s stakeholders.

As a result of the findings, Better Work has announced an 18-month-long pilot intervention, directed by the programme’s previous experience in manufacturing countries and relying on the guidance of national and local industry actors. Better Work will also work very closely with other ILO textile-focused programmes to maximize resources and impact.

The key focus areas of the Better Work Madagascar programme include enforcement of labour standards and improvement of compliance, social dialogue and skills upgrading;  contributing to the development of policies and best practice that support recovery of the industry while aligning with preferential trade agreements criteria;  promoting gender equality through training and policies that lift women from disadvantaged circumstances that work in the industry; and helping to facilitate relationships with international buyers to ensure consistent business interest in the apparel industry of the country.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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January 2022

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