Roughly half of all American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) members source from Africa, and following last summer’s ten-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), that number is likely to increase. However, as discussed during the AAFA-sponsored “Sourcing at Magic” seminar on February 17, 2016, entitled “Africa on the Verge,” duty-free access is temporary and the continent needs to put the infrastructure in place so that in ten years, the continent’s textile and apparel industry will be competitive without the trade advantage.
USAID supported a number of companies from Southern Africa to attend this month’s MAGIC show in Las Vegas, bringing textile and apparel companies from Southern, East, and West Africa together to jointly exhibit.
AAFA has been a partner of USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, promoting Southern African textile and apparel companies over several years at the Source Africa trade show in Cape Town and Magic in Las Vegas.
Bill McRaith, Chief Supply Chain Officer at PVH Corp., owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, made a presentation during the AAFA seminar on the opportunities and challenges sourcing demand can place on “up and coming” sourcing centers and noted Africa sits on the verge of a rush that could overwhelm its suppliers very quickly.
Avedis Seferian, President and CEO of non-profit organization WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), a Southern Africa Trade Hub partner organization, explained circumstances are starting to move in the right direction, noting the number of African factories seeking WRAP certification has grown of late.
The Trade Hub Team in Botswana with US Ambassador to Botswana Earl Miller and USAID’s Country Representative for Botswana Blake Chrystal at the Trade Hub offices in Gaborone. We thank you all for your support for the activities of the Trade Hub over the last five years.