Blog: Michelle RussellAfrica's potential to rival Asia for sourcing

Michelle Russell | 8 May 2015

Interest in sourcing apparel from sub-Saharan Africa might be on the rise, yet the results of a new survey suggest few players currently have concrete plans to tap into its potential.

With Africa in mind, our annual management briefing brings together the views of industry experts on the continent's potential to rival Asia as an apparel sourcing hub, the benefits trade deals offer, as well as investments that need to be made in order to create a competitive industry.

And one of those competitors to Africa's potential as a sourcing hub is Asia's Myanmar. A focus on the development of locally-owned factories, however, has become an impediment to the development of the country's garment industry, one industry expert believes. He suggests the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) must take a leading role in moving the industry forward.

For sourcing executives wanting more detailed information on some of the leading apparel supplier countries, just-style has launched global sourcing snapshots. The tool drills down to provide key data for an at-a-glance overview of the industry's size, strengths and weaknesses.

Meanwhile, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) enjoyed a record year in 2014 and is surging towards its long-term objective of achieving a 30% share of global production.

A new report, however, has found that the diversity of cotton farming systems around the world rules out the development of a fixed global blueprint on sustainability.

In recent years, a growing number of retail RFID use cases have clearly demonstrated the benefits of being able to track inventory at the item level, leading to better shelf replenishment and fewer out of stocks. Su Doyle, responsible for industry solutions at US product identification manufacturer CheckPoint Systems, looks at the three driving factors for RFID adoption in the apparel industry.

In other news, fresh inspections are being carried out on a number of ready-made garment factories in Bangladesh following the powerful earthquake that shook neighbouring Nepal; just-style looked at the new technologies transforming denim production; and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a high level of labour and social compliance within the country's garment industry.

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