During the 73rd annual Plenary Meeting last month, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), an association of governments of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries, accepted contributions from African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), thanking them for their work with the International Trade Center (ITC) to promote the cotton industry in Africa.
At the meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece, 33 member governments and 19 non-member governments met to discuss how to strengthen the cotton value chain in Africa. ICAC executive director José Sette said, “We invited the RECs to our Plenary Meeting because our membership is concerned about establishing textile industries in cotton-producing countries to ensure value addition to agricultural products.”
ITC has helped facilitate regional strategies for the development of the cotton-to-clothing sectors in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA). Representatives from COMESA and ECCAS talked to major national and private sector actors in the global cotton industry about how the regional approach to strengthening small textile businesses would affect Africa as a whole.
The COMESA Cotton-to-Clothing strategy was launched in 2009 and is designed to increase the production of value-added cotton products and services in the East and South African region. In September 2014, Zimbabwe launched its own cotton-to-clothing strategy. ITC provided assistance for the design and helped implement both strategies.