Huge scope to strengthen textile value chain in West Africa: report

14 Jun '21
2 min read
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

With only 2 per cent of the raw cotton grown in West Africa processed regionally, the scope for strengthening the textile value chain is huge in the region, according to a new focus report by London-based Oxford Business Group (OBG), which examines the potential that the West African textile and garment industry to turn a driver of sustainable growth and major employer across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“While West Africa is the world’s sixth-largest cotton grower, 90% of the raw product is exported to Asia to be made into finished goods,” says Bernardo Bruzzone, Africa regional editor for OBG.

Pic: Oxford Business Group

“In a moment where the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains, highlighting an increasing need to reduce global transports and companies’ carbon footprints, and with the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area, this is a key moment to invest in the West African textile sector”, he said.

Karine Loehman, OBG’s managing director for Africa, said although textile manufacturing in West African countries remained largely focused on exporting raw cotton, a gradual shift towards producing finished items was taking shape.

“With its access to an abundance of raw material (CMIA Certified), competitive wages & strategic location, West Africa is well placed to develop its textile industry,” she said.

“Introducing value-added steps into the supply chain, such as spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing, finishing & garments, will provide local economies with a significant boost, while also helping to reduce imports from the Asian markets,” she added.

Titled ‘West Africa Textiles and Garments’, the report provides in-depth analysis of the industry’s history and prospects for development, together with the challenges it faces.

The report says sustainable, value-added economic activities among local communities in the region could contribute to Africa’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change at a time when environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become a top priority.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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