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A New Strategic Alliance Aims to Boost Sustainable Cotton Production in Africa

The two organizations, which have worked together since 2013 to promote sustainable cotton and textiles in Sub-Saharan African, have signed a new strategic partnership.

The aim of the alliance, announced Tuesday, is to increase the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of cotton production on the African continent, as well as to strengthen textile production there.

“The Aid by Trade Foundation and its Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) initiative is the most important program for sustainable cotton production in Africa,” Jaswinder Bedi, chairman of ACTIF, said in a statement. “With the sustainable and certified CmiA cotton we can lay a reliable foundation for our business which aims to build up an integrated textile value chain on the African continent suitable for the domestic as well as international textile market.”

The strategic partnership came about in response to the recent increase in retailers and suppliers seeking to develop Africa’s textile industry or moving parts of their production there. For example, PVH Corp., owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, has built a socially-responsible vertical facility in Ethiopia that’s slated to start production this summer. Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M and Denmark’s Bestseller (which has 11 brands including Vero Moda) have also invested in the continent.

“We are pleased about the cooperation with ACTIF, which fits well with the optimism in the African textile sector,” Tina Stridde, managing director of the AbTF, said, noting that ACTIF is an expert promoter of regionally and vertically integrated textile supply chains on the continent. “Together, we offer retailers and brands that are looking for sustainable and traceable textiles from Africa, a simple solution—from raw material to finished product.”