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18-country strategy to develop textile value-chain

12
Apr '10
A new strategic initiative of the Africa Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), will try to galvanise and develop the textile manufacturing value-chain across the 18-member countries of the regional trade body. ACTIF aims to maximize and utilise the textile value-chain from cotton to clothing, by assigning each of the segments to different countries, with a comparative advantage.

ACTIF is a regional umbrella organization for trade associations in the cotton, fibre, textile and clothing sectors from across 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and has countries like Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, etc amongst its members.

African countries produce 12 percent of the total cotton produced in the world but use only 5 percent of the same in value-addition, while the rest is exported. According to ACTIF Chairman, Jaswinder Bedi, the African countries are only good in supplying the commodity to the world and this initiative is aimed at capturing the entire value chain from raw cotton to ready made garments.

The strategy which has been dubbed as 'Brand Africa' will take advantage of the East African Community Common Market and put in efforts towards integrating these regionally. The plan envisages setting up of various factories in strategic parts of each of the countries, which make up the ACTIF and utilise the cotton grown in Africa to produce yarn, fabrics and clothing for the regional markets.

However all is not as well as it looks. Most of these countries are besieged by imported second-hand clothing as well as smuggled goods, which make it difficult for local players to stand up to competition. Secondly, most of the textile units in these countries have old and outdated machinery which leads to high production costs and in turn the products they churn out are uncompetitive.

ACTIF wants the governments of each of the countries to create demand for locally manufactured garments. A few of the governments have also expressed the intent to purchase domestically manufactured uniforms for the armed forces and hospitals to provide support to local industry. Recently the Kenyan government too has announced that it will roll out a stimulus package.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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