Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly becoming a popular potential region for future production.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), and the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) have joined in agreement to expand trade and investment linkages between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa in the cotton textile and apparel sectors.
The new partnership aims to promote Africa as a sound sourcing option for international buyers. ACTIF Chairman Jaswinder Bedi said, “Africa is poised to make great strides in economic development in this decade with our combined GDP growing by 60 percent by 2020. This partnership with USAID and AAFA will ensure that both the United States and Africa participate in this growth story.”
Swedish retailer H&M has already begun capitalizing on producing in the area and plans to continue production growth in the region. H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson told Swedish daily Dagens Industri, “I think there is a huge potential in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of production. We have started production on a small scale in Ethiopia and will see how it goes. It’s very interesting.”
Through this collaboration, the U.S. and Africa will cooperate through the exchange of market and import/export policy information, guidance on requirements, and through the promotion of solutions to help address market constraints. AAFA executive vice president Steve Lamar said, “Sub-Saharan Africa is a growing player in the global apparel and footwear marketplace,” and said the organization is looking forward to the partnership and working toward facilitating increased trade and market access opportunities between the U.S. and Africa.