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Messe Frankfurt’s Takeover of Source Africa Trade Show Points to Market’s Growing Potential

Messe Frankfurt, the market leader in trade shows for the textile and apparel industry, has acquired two leading African trade shows: Source Africa and ATF, the International Apparel, Textile & Footwear Import Trade Exhibition of Southern Africa.

The two trade shows were sold to the Messe Frankfurt group, and the acquisition is expected to bring growth and attention to the shows centered around sourcing in Africa.

The Source Africa trade show, based in Cape Town, South Africa, has become one of the most important pan-African textile, apparel and footwear trade shows, bringing together manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and services to showcase Africa’s capabilities for sourcing. This year, the trade show featured more than 150 exhibitors from 17 countries, including South Africa, Mauritius, Lesotho, Madagascar, Kenya, and also from Turkey, UAE, the U.S., the U.K. and Hong Kong.

The sixth edition of the show will take place in Cape Town June 20-21, 2018.

ATF, which will put on the 19th edition of its Cape Town trade show this Nov. 21-23, is designed for exhibitors to meet with trade buyers and other industry professionals.

Economic growth in Africa has been robust in recent years, and according to World Bank, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to go from 2.6% in 2017 to 3.2% in 2018, outpacing the growth in the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe and Central Asia.

That growth coupled with the African Growth and Opportunity Act remaining intact for now, has meant more and more brands considering Africa as a sourcing locale.

[Read more on opportunities in Africa: Egypt Tops Where to Invest in Africa Study, With Ethiopia and Rwanda on the Rise]

“Breakthroughs in trade require time, effort and persistence—in any region of the world—but the result for developing nations is sustainable, inclusive economic growth that creates jobs and new wealth. The privatizing of Source Africa is one such breakthrough,” said Bill Grant, global practice lead for market systems development at DAI, an organization that supports development in Sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s the kind of success—building local capacity to commercially fill market gaps by providing information and linked traders—that the global development community should be talking about.”