CmiA was welcomed by WTO and FIFA as a new member of the steering committee of the initiative ‘Partenariat pour le Coton’ (Partnership for Cotton).

Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) pointed out that as its standard, Cotton made in Africa is a key player in sustainable cotton production in Africa. CmiA reportedly works with 20 cotton companies and nearly one million small-scale farmers in eleven countries in Africa South of the Sahara.

‘Partenariat pour le Coton’ has been launched to promote the cotton and textile sector in West Africa’s “Cotton 4” (Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Benin) and in Côte d’Ivoire by leveraging football’s economic development potential in cotton-producing countries.

AbTF explained this means that the countries not only grow and export cotton but also increase business activity in the “profitable processing stages of production.”

According to WTO director-general Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the founding of this initiative marks a new phase of an agreement, made between FIFA and WTO in 2022, that aims to open up new markets to African cotton farmers and producers, for example in the area of sportswear.

AbTF’s managing director Tina Stridde believes the establishment of this multilateral partnership by WTO and FIFA is a step in the right direction in terms of developing a sustainable value chain in Africa, from raw cotton to finished textiles.

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She added: “The topic of sustainable cotton production and the concerns of people in the region are close to our heart. We are happy to apply our now nearly 20 years of professional expertise in African cotton and the international textile trade to the task of making sustainable cotton profitable for small-scale farmers from Africa and economically viable for trade.”

In addition to its founding members, WTO and FIFA, the steering committee includes the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

AbTF shared that during the steering committee meeting of ‘Partenariat pour le Coton’ in Cotonou, Benin, from 4 to 6 June, members, including CmiA, were briefed on the initiative’s latest progress and upcoming steps. The committee also visited an industrial estate where African cotton is processed into textiles.

The Partnership for Cotton initiative was established as Partenariat pour le Coton in February 2024 at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Abu Dhabi by WTO director-general Okonjo-Iweala, and by the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.