Madagascar hopes Origin Africa will accelerate the recovery of its clothing sector

Madagascar hopes Origin Africa will accelerate the recovery of its clothing sector

The annual Origin Africa textile and clothing sourcing show is this year set to take place in Madagascar in November.

It is the first time the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa will host the event, and follows previous events in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The timing comes as interest in sourcing from Africa is at an all-time high, with the region set to play an increasingly important role in the textile, apparel and footwear industry over the next decade.

Interest from international buyers is fuelled in part by last year's extension of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), as well as investments in world class manufacturing facilities and sourcing commitments from leading international brands and retailers.

Origin Africa showcases sourcing and investment opportunities in the African textile and apparel sectors, according to the event's organisers, the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), Publi-Promo and the Madagascar Export Processing Zone Association (GEFP).

As well as a trade show highlighting fabric, garment and machinery makers (which attracted over 180 exhibitors from 25 countries at last year's event), there will be seminars, pre-arranged business to business meetings, and discussions on topics such as the benefits of preferential trade agreements, the development of regional trading blocs, and the investment conditions helping to make Africa 'The next major sourcing destination.'

Senior government officials, as well as trade and investment promotion organisations, will also participate, with sourcing professionals and buyers from SADC (the Southern African Development Community), Europe, the US and other key markets expected to attend.

Last week the European Union and six SADC countries signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) after more than a decade of talks. The move gives Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland duty-free access to the EU, and expands preferences for South Africa.

EU signs trade pact with South African nations

For Madagascar, too, the event comes as the country's clothing sector is starting to recover after the US removed its AGOA beneficiary status in 2010. This was reinstated in 2014 following the formation of the country's first democratic government.

Madagascar currently sits in fourth place Mauritius, Lesotho and Kenya when it comes to utilising AGOA trade preferences for exports to the US. The value of its apparel exports to the US surged 162% year-on-year to $48.98m in 2015, and already in the first four months of 2016 has reached half of this amount at $25.54m.

Origin Africa 2016 will take place from 2-5 November at the Forello Centre in Antananarivo, Madagascar. More information is available on the event website or by emailing the organisers.

Africa has undeniable advantages that make it attractive as a potential destination for large volume, low cost, commodity garments, as outlined in a recent article on just-style: 

Assessing Africa as an alternative apparel source