VALUE CHAIN NEWS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
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LOGO OF THE
NEWS & RESEARCH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
(#16 / 2018 - 3 July 2018)
www.africantextilesandapparel.com
In 2017 South Africa imported US$39.5m worth of towels (HS6302.60)
Pakistan (US$12.8m), India (US$11m) and Botswana (US$10.7m) accounted for 87% of South Africa's towel imports
In 2017 South Africa exported US$7.7m worth of towels – Namibia and Botswana were its biggest customers
 
NEWS
LESOTHO - PROTEST FOR DELAYS IN SETTING MINIMUM WAGES, 1 July 2018
Thousands of workers protested against a three-month delay in announcing new minimum wages, demanding the mandatory national minimum wage schedules, which provide wage rates for key jobs within sectors and are published annually in the Lesotho Government Gazette in April, to be released. Although negotiations are taking place within the Wages and Advisory Board where unions, government and employers are represented, an agreement has not yet been found. Petitions were delivered to the prime minister, the ministry of labour and employment, and to parliament. Unions are also demanding that the minister of labour and employment, Keketso Rantso, be removed from her position for not announcing the minimum wages on time. They say because of the delay, the minister has neglected the welfare of workers and their families. READ HERE >>

Comment
A fairly mild response by the Lesotho unions ... although asking for the head of a Minister is ambitious! In Issue #13 (12 June 2018) the "African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor" commented:

"The Lesotho minimum wage increase should have come into effect on 1 April 2018. ... it is strange that authorities have taken so long to still not formally reveal an increase. The deadline set to announce an increase should have been end February 2018. This would have enabled manufacturers to effectively cost orders – knowing what your wages are is important for costing purposes given that wages are such a significant component of the price of a garment.

"Lesotho trade unions must also partly shoulder the blame for an announcement being made so late. If I was a Lesotho unionist ... I would have used the delay in announcing an increase as an opportunity to mobilise union members (and non-members) to have got the Lesotho labour minister to have set an increase some time ago - for I would know that this would be a winnable campaign and would set a positive platform for increasing union membership … and a larger, more active and mobilised, membership would be a great asset to win other issues."



ZIMBABWE – POOR COTTON HARVEST, 26 June 2018
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union expressed concern over the projected low cotton output in the country, despite the government pumping in US$60m in the just-ended farming season. Government extended inputs support to cotton farmers countrywide under the Presidential Free Inputs Scheme. Government targeted to put 400,000 hectares under the crop in the 2017/18 season. But the projected yield of only 90,000 tonnes of cotton in the just-ended season could make this the worst season in Zimbabwe’s cotton farming history. Given that the country is expecting to produce 90,000 tonnes of the crop after putting about 400,000ha under cotton, it means the average yield per hectare will be way below 200kgs. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – COMPETITION COMMISSION RECOMMENDS IDC TAKEOVER OF GLODINA TOWELS, 29 June 2018
The South African Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed transaction whereby Ready Right Now (RRN) intends to acquire Glodina (SEE >>), a toweling manufacturer and part of the KAP Homeware division, be approved without conditions. RRN’s name will be changed to Glodina Towelling pending approval of the transaction. RRN is controlled by South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC SEE >>). The Commission’s investigation found that while the IDC may be considered a substantial player in the terry towelling market, the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in anti-competitive effects due to there being substantial imports which constrain local players, including those entities controlled by the IDC, among other factors. READ HERE >>

Observations
Its important that this plant - perhaps even only a part of it - is rationally saved for it does have the potential to (re)employ a significant number of workers that previously worked at Glodina.

Should the transaction be approved the IDC will become a very important player in the South African towel manufacturing value chain. The IDC already owns Colibri Toweling (SEE >>); and, it also owns one of South Africa's larger stand alone cotton yarn spinners - Prilla 2000 SEE >> - Prilla supplies a significant proportion of its yarns to the South African toweling industry. The IDC also has access to a pool of resources - so not only does it have the resources to buy Glodina (the IDC was asked how much it could pay for the entity but they did not answer) but it will have the funds to undertake a technological / manufacturing equipment upgrade of the facility.

The only other significant South African toweling plant is Zorbatex (SEE >>) which is located in the country’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Zorbatex must be concerned about the IDC potentially controlling both the Glodina and Colibri towel manufacturing operations. Hopefully any company that wishes to establish a facility in the South African toweling manufacturing industry would have any applications for financial support submitted to the IDC or to the South African Department of Trade & Industry (via its Clothing & Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) SEE >> - NOTE: the IDC has been tasked with implementing and developing CTCP) evaluated on merit.

What is very surprising with this move by the IDC is that at the end of September 2017 the IDC had (apparently) sewn-up a financing deal whereby a KwaZulu-Natal province based company (principal shareholder Mr. Fehaaz Eusuf) concluded a loan agreement worth of R185m (US$13.3m) to assist it to buy Glodina. On 4 June 2018 South Africa's Minister for Economic Development advised, in a response to a general question from another Member of Parliament on the "Black Industrialist" programme, that this September 2017 deal was part of its "Black Industrialist" programme READ HERE >>. (NOTE: according to the Competition Commission the IDC's RRN subsidiary launched its application for approval of its takeover of Glodina on 16 March 2018.) It would be interesting to understand why this September 2017 transaction has unravelled.


It is understood that a Durban company that initially was going to be loaned R185m to buy Glodina was one of a few private sector players that was interested in buying Glodina. In my view a correct approach would have been for IDC to consider supporting another credible private sector company to buy Glodina - and not for it to buy Glodina in its own right so as to compete with possible buyers. The IDC should only step-in when there is no other credible purchaser of a plant that stands a reasonable chance of being turned around, or when it invests in a plant that this investment would play a role in strengthening the entire value chain.
NOTE
The IDC was approached for comment but none was received further efforts will be made to see if the IDC will provide information on this proposed takeover.


ETHIOPIA - FIRST EXPORT FROM KOMBOLCHA INDUSTRIAL PARK, 30 June 2018
According to a Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) the first export from Ethiopia's Kombolcha Industrial Park (KIP) left the park on 30 June 2018. In all 1,050 Michael Kors' bags were exported to The Netherlands via Ethiopian airlines. The KIP is located in the South Wollo Zone of the Amhara Regional State - it is situated next to Kombolcha's airport. It is located in less than 480kms from the port of Djibouti. The park has been specifically designed to accommodate textile and apparel manufacturers. It is estimated that the park could employ up to 20,000 people - if the factories were to work a 2 shift system. The KIP occupies an area of 750,000m/2 - the 13 factory sheds alone occupy 60,500m/2. SOURCE >> and SOURCE >>


ETHIOPIA – TO UPGRADE TEXTILE TESTING EQUIPMENT, 29 June 2018
A staff member in the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Organisation has advised that the parastatal lacks the experts to repair its inspection equipment and that this is hindering its day-to-day quality product assessment services. He stated that the World Bank would extend a soft loan of US$12.9m to put in place additional testing services that would be focused on the leather and textile industries. He added that additional branches of the testing organisation would be opened in other parts of the country. READ HERE >>


KENYA – DUTY PROTECTION FOR CLOTHING FIRMS, 24 June 2018
Kenya has secured several duty protections against imports from other East Africa Community (EAC) member states in a bid to protect its local manufacturers making select commodities - including leather shoes and clothes. The duty “stays” lasting one year are among the key negotiations Nairobi took to Arusha when EAC ministers of finance met in May to review customs tariffs under the EAC’s Common External Tariff (CET) regime. The regional tariffs allow member countries to export products in the region at a zero or a lower custom duty. The countries are, however, allowed to seek for “stays” to protect certain commodities from imports that may hurt its local production. Kenya has, however, waived the exemption on garments and leather footwear offloaded from EPZ, a move that is said to have rattled EAC member states. The move to increase local market access for designer apparels made by EPZ firms to 40% from the initial 20% saw EPZ firms access local market in open sales events held at the Kenya International Convention Centre last year. READ HERE >>


EAST AFRICA – LVMH STILL HAS NOT FOUND WHAT ITS LOOKING FOR ... BONO LINKED FASHION BRAND RETURNED, 28 June 2018
Edun (SEE >>), the made-in-Africa fashion brand founded in 2004 by Ali Hewson and her husband, U2’s Bono, is ceasing its current operations. LVMH, which first invested in Edun in 2009 and currently owns a 49% stake in the label, is set to transfer its shares back to the founders. Employees were notified in May of the company’s dissolution. The label’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection will be its last to be produced. Edun’s single storefront, on Lafayette Street in Manhattan, closed at the end of May 2018. The label, founded with the ethically minded mission of bringing awareness — and work — to African artisans and manufacturers, confirmed the separation. It is currently unclear if or how Edun may be revived in the future. Edun used to make clothes in Lesotho – but it moved most of its Africa production operations to East Africa. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – LONG4LIFE BUYS 555 CLOTHING STORES, 26 June 2018
South African investment firm Long4Life (SEE >>) has agreed to buy apparel and footwear fashion retailer Rage for R3.9bn (US$287.5m) to strengthen its lifestyle brands business. The amount will be settled through a combination of shares and cash from internal resources and bank debt, Long4Life said in a statement on Tuesday. The owners of Rage will hold about a 22.8% stake in Long4Life. Brian Joffe, the owner of Long4Life, listed the investment firm in 2017 and has since made a string of acquisitions, including sporting goods retailer Holdsport (whose popular clothing outlets include Outdoor Warehouse and Sportsmans Warehouse). Rage currently has 555 stores across South Africa and has plans to roll out about 90 new stores per year. READ HERE >>


EGYPTIAN – COTTON PRODUCTION SET TO RISE, 27 June 2018
The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation has issued a report showing that the total area devoted to cotton cultivation this season has increased by 118,000 feddans (1 ha = 2.38 feddan) on a year-on-year basis. In this season it has been estimated that a total of 334,621 feddans had been devoted to cotton farming. The Head of Agriculture Services advised that the government had also implemented a campaign aiming to controlling cotton pests. READ HERE >>


RWANDA – WORN CLOTHING IMPORT CRACKDOWN, 25 June 2018
Rwandan authorities have stated that they are cracking down on used clothes imports (locally known as “Chagua”) in a move to promote domestic industries. Officials from the Rwanda Revenue Authority said the ongoing campaign against second-hand clothes, which are mainly being smuggled from neighbouring countries, has led to seizure of hundreds of items. Meanwhile a research fellow for the UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has stated that ODI research had found that the phasing-out worn clothes will not lead to the gains President Paul Kagame had hoped for. The researcher advised that the phase-out is also having a detrimental impact on Rwandan citizens – especially those used clothes sellers who were struggling to find enough affordable supply of second-hand clothing to meet demand, and that their customers are now faced higher prices. READ HERE >> and READ HERE (subscription) >>

Comment
It will be interesting to see what measures the Rwandan government is now putting in place to develop a domestically focused clothing manufacturing industry. A simple significant increase in the duties payable on worn clothing imports I doubt will be enough to create a significant domestic garment manufacturing sector. The (so-called) market logic of capitalism (i.e. present it with a market opportunity and it will respond) usually does not work as well as the free market acolytes proclaim it does. A range of other industrial policy instruments will be required to facilitate the development of a local Rwandan garment making industry. It is known that the Rwandan government has decided to, for a year, pay the US import duties faced by the country’s major garment exporters - this will give these firms (the main one being C & H Garments) a soft(er) landing. Will it give them the time to develop business plans that will help them to sustainably make for the local market place.

What will happen to the smuggled worn clothing seized by the Rwandan customs authorities? In South Africa it was found that smuggled clothing seized by its customs administration was often sold by the revenue authority, via public auction, often at rock bottom prices, and this had the effect of continuing to negatively impact upon the domestic textile and garment manufacturing industry. In my view the only way to deal with smuggled clothing items is to either destroy it completely, or to reduce some of it back to its textile state (e.g. to make cleaning cloths, or mop heads, etc), or re-export it.


NIGERIA - TEXTILE INTERVENTION FUND RULES TOO STRICT, 1 July 2018
The Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to relax the tough conditions attached to disbursement of resources from the Textile Intervention Fund. READ HERE >>


TANZANIA – STRATEGY TO BOOST PRODUCTION, 27 June 2018
According to Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture the country is set to significantly increase its earnings from cotton exports in the next two years. The country’s Deputy Minister told the National Assembly that the plan is to increase cotton exports from the current US$30m to US$150m by 2020. It was disclosed that since 2017 a number of strategies had been put in place in order to ensure that cotton production surpassed the 600,000 tonnes mark. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – BARGAINING COUNCIL DEMARCATION, 22 June 2018
South Africa has a system of sectorally based centralised collective bargaining which covers many workers in the economy. There are centralised bargaining institutions (called Bargaining Councils) which set and regulate the minimum wages, and terms and conditions of employment agreements, for the clothing industry (SEE >>); and, for most sections of the country’s textile industry (SEE >> e.g. for the home textile sector, for the wool & mohair industry, carpets, manufactured fibers, woven cotton products, blankets, etc). There are many other bargaining councils that cover a multitude of other economic activities. From time to time there are conflicts between different bargaining councils as to who has jurisdiction over a factory (and the workers therein) that is producing a particular product.

The Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBC) has now applied for a demarcation order to the effect that the activities and scope of a business entity known as Escape Gear should fall under its jurisdiction. The MIBC believes that the core business activities of the company are essentially that of manufacturing accessories for motor vehicles. Escape Gear is involved in the manufacturing of products such as seat covers, bags, wallets, accessory bags, rubber floor mats and other related items. The firm is currently registered under the scope and jurisdiction of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry Cape Chamber (CIBC). Likewise, the National Textile Bargaining Council (NTBC) is opposing the application and seeks that the business should fall under its jurisdiction. READ HERE >> (page 101)

Comment
Two trade unions have an interest in this jurisdictional dispute, namely the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). The former is currently an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); while NUMSA was recently (in November 2015) expelled from COSATU. NUMSA is thought to be the dominant union in the MIBC; SACTWU is the dominant union in the textile, and the clothing bargaining councils. It is known that the NUMSA is now starting to organise workers in some factories outside its traditional areas of operations - including in the textile and apparel industries. NUMSA, perhaps, is on the way to becoming a general workers' union. It is also rumoured to be recruiting in other enterprises organised by SACTWU. It is predicted that these bargaining council jurisdictional disputes will become more common in the future; worse still it could be the case that rivalry between SACTWU and NUMSA will not only take place at a technical level between bargaining councils – but that it will spill over onto the shop floor.


SOUTH AFRICA – K-WAY AND LEAN MANUFACTURING, 26 June 2018
Technical and outdoor apparel company, K­Way, has been lauded as exemplary in its approach to boosting the local clothing manufacturing sector. But 14 years ago the company was approaching the brink of closure ­struggling with low unit growth, declining staff morale and high absenteeism. K-Way was certainly not alone in its struggle at the time. South Africa’s clothing industry was in decline, faced with uneven competition against cheap imports from Asia; approximately 100,000 jobs had been lost during the previous decade and job security within the industry was becoming an elusive concept.

K-Way chairman Philip Krawitz hired Bobby Fairlamb in 2004 and gave him one mandate: save the company. And that’s exactly what Fairlamb did, but it didn’t come about by doing ‘business as usual’. Convinced of its potential to turn K-Way around, Fairlamb spearheaded the introduction of the lean manufacturing system at the company. With the reality that 87% of businesses fail on their lean journey, he admits the undertaking was a big risk for K-Way and for his personal career. The company invested heavily in its workforce, providing staff across the board with ongoing skills training to improve their daily work procedures, methods and systems. This was combined with healthy working conditions and ensuring the management team was willing to listen to the ideas of all employees. READ HERE >>
 
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"WORLD INVESTMENT REPORT - 2018"

UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE & DEVELOPMENT (UNCTAD)

SWITZERLAND, 6 JUNE 2018

Foreign direct investment to Africa fell by 21% in 2017, says a United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) report. Weak oil prices and harmful ongoing macroeconomic effects from the commodity bust saw flows contract in major host African economies.
 
 
“The beginnings of a commodity price recovery, as well as advances in inter regional cooperation through the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, could encourage stronger foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Africa in 2018, provided the global policy environment remains supportive,” UNCTAD Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, James Zhan said.
 
 
FDI flows to North Africa were down 4% to US$13bn. Investment in Egypt was down, but the country continued to be the largest recipient in Africa. FDI in Morocco was up 23% to US$2.7bn, including as a result of sizeable investments in the automotive sector.
 
 
Lingering effects from the commodity bust weighed on FDI to sub-Saharan Africa, with inflows declining by 28%, to US$28.5bn. FDI flows to Central Africa decreased by 22% to US$5.7bn. FDI to West Africa fell by 11% to US$11.3bn, due to Nigeria’s economy remaining depressed. FDI to Nigeria fell 21% to US$3.5bn.
 
 
East Africa, the fastest-growing region in Africa, received US$7.6bn in FDI in 2017, a 3% decline on 2016. Ethiopia absorbed nearly half of this amount, with US$3.6bn (down 10%) and is now the second largest recipient of FDI in Africa. Kenya saw FDI increase to US$672m, up 71%, due to strong domestic demand and inflows in information and communication technology sectors.
 
 
In Southern Africa, FDI declined by 66% to US$3.8bn. FDI to South Africa fell 41% to US$1.3bn, due to an underperforming commodity sector and political uncertainty. FDI into Angola turned negative once again (down to -US$2.3bn from US$4.1bn in 2016) as foreign affiliates in the country transferred funds abroad through intra-company loans. In contrast, FDI into Zambia increased, supported by more investment in copper.
 
 
Multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developed economies (such as the United States, United Kingdom and France) still hold the largest FDI stock in Africa. At the same time, developing-economy investors from China and South Africa, followed by Singapore, India and Hong Kong (China), are among the top 10 investors in Africa.

FDI outflows from Africa increased by 8% to US$12.1b n, reflecting a significant increase in outward FDI by South African firms (up 64% to US$7.4bn) and Moroccan firms (up 66% to US$960m). Outward FDI by Nigerian firms, in contrast, remained flat at US$1.3bnn, focused almost exclusively on Africa.

FDI inflows to Africa are forecast to increase by about 20% in 2018 to US$50bn. The projection is underpinned by the expectations of a continued modest recovery in commodity prices and strengthened interregional economic cooperation. Yet Africa’s commodity dependence will cause FDI to remain cyclical. SOURCE: READ HERE >> For the full UNCTAD main report SEE HERE >>.


TEXTILE AND APPAREL INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA

UNCTAD'S WORLD INVESTMENT REPORT
TABLE SHOWING THE VALUE OF TEXTILE AND APPAREL INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA FOR 2016 AND 2017.  [This table can be seen if you enable
  • "Lower-skill manufacturing can be an important starting point for industrial development. In Africa, greenfield FDI in textiles, clothing and leather has been relatively strong over the past few years, reaching US$4bn in 2017 – twice the level recorded in 2014 and 20 times the 2008 amount. South–South investment in this industry, particularly from Asian investors into Africa, is significant; however, the largest projects are highly concentrated in a few countries, e.g. Ethiopia. (pg9 - main report)
  • East Africa, the fastest-growing region in Africa, received US$7.6bn in FDI in 2017, a 3% decline from 2016. Ethiopia absorbed nearly half of this amount, with US$3.6bn (down 10%), and is now the second largest recipient of FDI in Africa after Egypt, despite its smaller economy (the eighth largest in Africa). Chinese and Turkish firms announced investments in light manufacturing and automotive after Ethiopia lifted the state of emergency in the second half of 2017. United States fashion supplier PVH (Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger); Dubai-based Velocity Apparelz Companies (Levi’s, Zara and Under Armour); and China’s Jiangsu Sunshine Group (Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss) all set up their own factories in Ethiopia in 2017. Several of these firms are located in Ethiopia’s flagship, Chinese-built, Hawassa Industrial Park. (pg41 - main report)
 

THE WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION'S

COTTON INITIATIVE PART II

Last week the “African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor” started an overview of the World Trade Organisations (WTO) interventions in the (mainly) African cotton growing sector.

In a November 2017 WTO meeting the Executive Director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC SEE >> ) stated
that:
  • the estimated the total number of African cotton farmers was about 3.5m - who cultivated an area of about 4.2m hectares. 12% of these farmers were women
  • African yields had been flat since the 1990s; while during the same period world average yield had risen by 40% - that the average African yield was 64% lower than the world average yield
  • Africa’s largest cotton exporters were Burkina Faso and Mali, followed by Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Cameroon and Chad. These countries accounting for about 72% of total African cotton exports
  • African cotton was of good quality and highly recognised
  • the costs of producing African cotton could be extremely competitive if there was increased productivity and reduced trade costs
  • most cotton produced by African countries was exported, and that if African countries started spinning their locally-produced cotton, the number of persons employed in the cotton sector would triple
  • in response to questions from the delegations that the major challenges hindering the development of the cotton sector in Africa were under-exploited productivity potentials, insufficient mill use, and lack of coordination in cotton value chains.

SOURCE: "Report of the 28th Round of the Director-General's Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton". 17 November 2017. WTO Doc. Number: TN/AG/SCC/W/28 WT/CFMC/56


A June 2018 WTO cotton meeting that discussed the WTO’s “Evolving Table on Cotton” the amount of funding currently being directly and (perhaps) indirectly towards cotton production programmes in Africa was revealed. The funding was broken down into two categories, namely:

Active Cotton-Specific Development Assistance Projects
The total value of active cotton specific development assistance for 31 African beneficiaries and others is currently worth US$204,2m. Of which, the total value of cotton specific development assistance principally targeted at the C4 states (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali) is US$88,8m. The total value of disbursed amounts was valued at US$96,7. (WTO Evolving Table [25th Version] report READ HERE >> See: PDF pg 2-4)

Active Agriculture/Infrastructure Related Development Assistance Projects
The total number of active agricultural and Infrastructure related development assistance projects (many of which may also have impacted upon cotton cultivation) decreased to 48 (from 63 previously). The total value of development commitments amounted to US$2.8 billion, with disbursement flows decreasing to US$976 million. These decreases are due to (i) the completion of a several projects and (ii) the deletion of projects which had been incorrectly notified. (WTO Evolving Table [25th Version] report READ HERE >> See: PDF pg 5-8)

NOTE: If one opens the WTO’s “Evolving Table on Cotton” you can see what kinds of initiatives are being funded by the global development community. The Evolving Table does not, unfortunately, state who is the institution / organisation in each country operationally responsible for project executive management, nor does it state what prime contractors have been engaged to implement any project.

The Evolving Table does not detail some of the other funding that could potentially be used by governments to support their cotton sectors. In this regard various multilateral institutions, mainly the IMF and the World Bank, assist national governments with their poverty reduction strategies or national development strategies and some of this funding may end up (directly/indirectly) in cotton development projects. It must also be remembered that streams of development funds also enter the cotton sector from private sector development foundations (e.g. the UK’s Gatsby Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc).

Finally the most recent Evolving Table does not detail the total amount of funding that have been dispersed by the global donor community on cotton projects / initiatives. Many projects have already ended – consulting previous “Evolving Tables” (the first of which was produced in April 2008) may assist in providing an overview.
----------------------------------------

Comment

REFLECT ON THESE AMOUNTS! CURRENTLY ...

US$204m FOR COTTON DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE ONLY

US$2.8bn ON GENERAL AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE!

Cotton is an important crop and the more success that African peasant farmers have in growing it the greater the impact will be in reducing poverty in some of Africa’s most rural areas.

In my observation there appear to be too many African cotton development programmes that seem to be repeats of initiatives that have been tried before. It would be worthwhile for a range of donors to, when undertaking specified programmes (e.g. like those involving cotton contamination reduction), to first see what other interventions have previously been run and how successful (or not) these activities were. I sometimes get the sense that some development contractors have their noses in the same trough year after year, programme after programme.

I have also casually observed that because of the scale of the financial resources that development assistance interventions bring that there are now some private sector enterprises – like some cotton ginners, and cotton traders/buyers – that are constantly on the look-out for donor funded development projects to inject funds into their activities in order to subsidise their own operations. Its an interesting phenomena. Often, in a development context, working with the private sector produces lasting results; but sometimes that donor funding does not make the private sector better operators nor does it support systemic change – the private sector merely takes the cash, for at that point in time, it reduces the costs of it doing business.
 
FACT OF THE WEEK

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN
EXPORTS OF APPAREL TO THE UNITED STATES
USING AGOA TRADE PREFERENCES
for 2017
Jan-Apr 2017 compared with Jan-Apr 2018
TABLE SHOWING WHICH AFRICAN COUNTRIES' EXPORTERS ARE USING AGOA.  [This table can be seen if you enable
 
RESEARCH & REPORTS
COMESA Cotton-to-Clothing Value Chain Strategy”. Produced by the Common Market for East & Southern Africa (COMESA), with assistance from the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the African Cotton & Textiles Industries Federation (ACTIF). Lusaka, Zambia. November 2011.

Synopsis: The strategy is an update of the 2009 COMESA “Regional Strategy for Cotton-to-Clothing Value Chain”. It analyses the current situation of the sector, in particular focusing on small-holder cotton production and on the ginning and textile/clothing subsectors. Hence, it outlines the main goals and strategic objectives, identifying the critical success factors and providing a detailed framework for implementation. The COMESA mission is to "promote trade and increase market access for the cotton, textile and apparel industries in Africa", through the creation of "an integrated and competitive cotton-to-clothing value chain". The main development goals of the strategy are: 1) to enhance cotton production and farmer incomes; 2) to increase investment and efficiency in textile and clothing manufacturing; and, 3) to expand trade. In order to achieve these goals the document defines precise strategic objectives in relation to three main subsectors. The full paper can be READ HERE >>.


"AGOA 101 Kenya: How to Export Duty Free from Kenya to the U.S. under the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA)". East Africa Trade & Investment Hub (EATIH - a project implemented by DAI Inc.; funded by the United States' Agency for International Development (USAID)). June 2018.

Synopsis: EATIH's AGOA guide outlines the step-by-step process that Kenyan businesses should take to export to the United States duty-free through AGOA. It provides additional information on the export of four high-demand, high-value sectors - including textiles and apparel. Although exporting can be a challenging process, it can also be profitable for the individual or company that successfully complies with the steps. The full document can be READ HERE >>.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS

UNITED STATES – AGOA FORUM DATES SET
9 - 12 JULY 2018
The 17th session of the United States - Africa Trade & Economic Cooperation Forum will be held in Washington DC, 9-12 July 2018. Commonly known as the “AGOA FORUM”, the annual event normally consists of three components: the official Ministerial, the Private Sector session, and the Civil Society event.

Details of all the events can be seen accessed on the "AGOA.INFO" web site. SEE HERE >> Once you are on www.agoa.info let yourself be drawn away from the AGOA FORUM page and ... take a trip around the rest of the website. Its a very good ... packed with all manner of detail about AGOA, and its beneficiary countries. It is the go to reference spot on the world-wide-web on AGOA. A recent legislative amendment in the US mandated its government to set-up its own AGOA website. They will, if they ever get around to it, have a hard time competing with the current AGOA.INFO website.

Some US administration websites that touch on AGOA include:
International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA)
US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA)
US’ State Department
US Trade Representative (USTR)
US Customs & Border Protection (USCBP)
US Department of Labour – Bureau of International Labour Affairs (USDoL-ILAB)

Comment
I have been unfortunate enough to attend two AGOA FORUMS - they were a complete waste of time and of the donor money that got me there (although Accra is a nice city with really friendly people; and the Smithsonian museums are fascinating). I am sure that this year's FORUM will be the same. So if your government wants you to go, resist - if you are a garment manufacturer stay at home and run your business and make some money; if you are a textile unionist stay behind and intensify the campaign for a living wage; if you are a development worker find something to mainstream.

  • Source Africa - Trade Show - 20-21 June 2018. Cape Town, South Africa. For more information: www.sourceafrica.co.za
  • 14th Symposium of the Southern & East Africa Cotton Forum - Workshop - 4-6 July 2018. Harare, Zimbabwe. For more information: SEACF
  • Apparel Sourcing New York - Trade Show - 23-25 July 2018. New York, United States. For more information: www.apparel-sourcing-usa.us
  • Sourcing at Magic - Trade Show - 12-15 August 2018. Las Vegas, United States. For more information: www.ubmfashion.com
  • International Textile Manufacturers' Federation (ITMF) - Annual Conference - 7-9 September 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. For more information: www.itmf.org
  • Origin Africa – Trade Show - 9-11 September 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. For more information: www.originafrica.org
  • Apparel Sourcing Paris - Trade Show - 17-20 September 2018. Paris, France. For more information: www.apparelsourcing.fr.messefrankfurt.com
  • Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week (ASFW) - Trade Show - 1-4 October 2018. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more information: www.asfw-online.com
  • Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference - Annual Conference - 22-24 October 2018. Milan, Italy. For more Information: www.textileexchange.org
  • Destination Africa - Trade Show - 17-19 November 2018. Cairo, Egypt. For more information: www.destination-africa.org
  • ATF Expo - Trade Show - 20-23 November 2018. Cape Town, South Africa. For more information: www.atfexpo.co.za
  • 77th Plenary Meeting - International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) - Annual Conference - 2-7 December 2018. Abidjan, Ivory Coast. For more information: www.icac.org
 
CLASSIFIEDS
JOBS
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MANUFACTURING EQUIPMENT WANTED / FOR SALE
Looking for staff? Want to engage a consultant? Have equipment to sell? Do you need 2nd hand machinery? Have a tender? For a limited period the "African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor" will publish (free of charge) select classified advertisements from firms / development organisations active in the Africa's crop to shop value chain. Adverts limited to 50 words / 300 characters (and may include a mini logo).
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TRANSLATORS - SOCIAL & LABOUR COMPLIANCE AUDITING
I get repeated requests from environmental and labour compliance auditing bodies for in-country staff who can assist them with translations when they are undertaking in country audits. If you know of any individuals/organisations who could undertake these kinds of services kindly let me know their details. Country, language competencies, names, contact details please. editor@africantextilesandapparel.com
 
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about Mark Bennett - Editor

"The African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor"
I have almost 30 years' experience working in Africa's cotton, textiles and apparel value chain. Initially I was, for 15 years, a sector trade unionist in South Africa; then, from 2004 onwards, I worked as a development consultant for various Southern / Eastern African governments, and domestic private sectors. In my development activities I have been engaged by private sector foundations, and by DFID and USAID funded contractors. I find it rewarding creating development interventions that help cotton, textiles and apparel stakeholders to better processes, improve productivity, increase sales and add investment. See my full CV at Devex or LinkedIn.
 
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