"The African continent is becoming ever more important for textile production"

"The African continent is becoming ever more important for textile production"

The growing interest in East Africa as a platform for garment and textile production has prompted trade fair organiser Messe Frankfurt to include Africa in its textile event portfolio from next year.

The exhibition giant recently inked an agreement with organiser Trade and Fairs East Africa, which will lead to offshoots of its Texworld, Apparel Sourcing and Texprocess trade fairs being integrated into the Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week taking place in Ethiopia next October.

"Due to increased wages and growing domestic demand within Asia, as well as the AGOA agreement between Africa and the US, the African continent is becoming ever more important for textile production," says Skander Negasi, managing director of Trade and Fairs East Africa.

"Kenya and Ethiopia are playing a leading role in this. Africa's biggest textile trade fair, the Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week is continuing to grow. By collaborating with Messe Frankfurt and its Texpertise Network, this positive development will be accelerated."

The partnership marks Messe Frankfurt's first foray into the African textile industry. 

"For us, this partnership marks the start of our textile trade fair activities on an exceptionally interesting continent that is becoming more and more important for the textile industry and whose players will come increasingly to prominence," says Olaf Schmidt, vice president of textiles and textile technologies for Messe Frankfurt.

Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week will take place for the seventh time in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia from 4-7 October 2017. This year's event has attracted around 160 international exhibitors, with the biggest exhibiting nations including Turkey, Kenya, the United Arabic Emirates, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Germany. 

Ethiopia's garment and textile industry is expanding steadily thanks to a pledge in 2014 from the World Bank to spend $250m financing Ethiopian government plans to build seven industrial parks over the next five years.

Apparel firms such as PVH Corp, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Asos, George at Asda, Calzedonia, Primark and Tesco are already sourcing from Ethiopia. And talks are ongoing with other major clothing producers including Ralph Lauren and VF Corporation to begin sourcing from the country's apparel suppliers.

The just-announced inauguration of Africa's first modern electrified railway line in Ethiopia links the country's capital, Addis Ababa, with the port of Djibouti. The 752km railway line is expected to cut travel time from the port to ten hours from two-to-three days previously. 

Ethiopia inaugurates Africa's first electric railway