The Trade and Investment Hub met with South African COO Joshua Low from Messe Frankfurt, a global events and exhibitions company, to discuss its recent acquisition of Source Africa. Source Africa is Africa’s premier clothing and footwear trade show designed to promote exports to the U.S. and other international markets.
Source Africa was started with direct grant and technical support from USAID through the Southern Africa Trade Hub in 2013.
Acquisition by global player Messe Frankfurt of the South African-based Source Africa is a striking success for USAID in its ongoing effort to increase AGOA utilization, economic competitiveness, and regional trade.
As an international leader in apparel and textile trade shows with an operational footprint worldwide, Messe Frankfurt has a proven track record of exhibition acumen. In 2016 it hosted over134 trade shows in more than 50 countries attended by 90,000 exhibitors and over 3.5 million visitors. Under the management of Messe Frankfurt, Source Africa is expected grow significantly and improve the export competitiveness of the region’s textile, apparel, footwear, and leather goods sectors while further expanding access to the region for sourcing and exports.
The company’s global reputation and vast linkages with buyers throughout the world signals a major step forward for suppliers and manufacturers across the continent. Messe Frankfurt’s plans to review the entire value chain and greatly expand its marketing strategy and budget to ensure that Source Africa becomes prominent on buyers’ calendars.
The textile and apparel sectors in Southern African remain significant employers and is one of the largest beneficiaries of duty exemption under AGOA. Regionally, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, and South Africa are the main exporters of apparel to the U.S. under AGOA.
USAID and the Trade and Investment Hub, along with the US Trade Representative (USTR) Office in Washington, DC, provided sizeable conceptual, buyer, and promotional assistance to Source Africa during its inception and throughout the life of the trade show. Further discussions are underway between the Hub and Messe Frankfurt to explore the potential for developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen the partnership and strategic collaboration in 2018.