The goal is a sustainable textile industry in Africa

The goal is a sustainable textile industry in Africa

The strength of having a supply chain that extends from the cotton field to the finished garment within a single country was one of the key messages to emerge from a meeting last week to look at making African cotton more competitive.

More than 150 experts from across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries attended the stakeholder conference in Cologne, Germany organised by Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and COMPACI (the Competitive African Cotton Initiative).

The discussions focused on issues such as tapping new markets for African cotton and securing income for cotton farmers, as well as establishing a textile value chain in Africa.

Manufacturers such as Ayka and Else from Ethiopia and Buetec from Cameroon took part in the meeting for the first time, emphasising that Africa is being discovered more and more by the textile industry as a production location.

"The opportunity to be able to produce within a country from the cotton field to the finished garment, establish a sustainable foundation for textile production, and to discover growing sales opportunities locally makes African countries attractive to the American and European market," said Jas Bedi, managing director of African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF).

The group of experts agreed that Cotton made in Africa can help lay the foundation for a sustainable textile industry in Africa - and that a further developed textile industry could be a great opportunity for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative designed to help African cotton farmers, generated licensing revenues of more than EUR1m (US$1.3m) for the first time last year, with more than 85,000 tons of cotton sold through the scheme.

The first annual report published earlier this month by CmiA, an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), said the gains were largely due to increasing uptake by textile companies and fashion brands, with the Otto Group and Tchibo its two largest customers.