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LOGO OF THE
NEWS & RESEARCH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
(#17 / 2018 - 10 July 2018)
www.africantextilesandapparel.com
In 2014, before losing its AGOA privileges, eSwatini (née Swaziland) exported US$55m (2013: US$49.8m) worth of garments to the US
In 2014 eSwatini (Swaziland) exported US$35.9m worth of knit apparel (HS61); and US$19.1 of woven apparel (HS62) to the US using AGOA
In 2014 eSwatini (Swaziland) exported clothing worth US$133.2m to South Africa
 
NEWS
SWAZILAND – AGOA APPAREL EXPORTS AUTHORISED, 3 July 2018
The United States' Trade Representative (USTR) has determined that Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) has adopted an effective visa system and related procedures to prevent the unlawful transshipment of textile and apparel articles and the use of counterfeit documents in connection with the shipment of such articles, and has implemented and follows, or is making substantial progress towards implementing and following, the custom procedures required by the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA). Therefore, imports of eligible products from Eswatini qualify for the textile and apparel benefits provided under the AGOA. READ HERE >>



SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA – ANNUAL AGOA REVIEW INITIATED, 6 July 2018
The Office of the United States' Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it has initiated the annual review of the eligibility of the sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to receive the benefits in terms of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The AGOA legislation authorises the US President to designate SSA countries as beneficiaries eligible for duty-free treatment for certain additional products not included for duty-free treatment under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), as well as for preferential treatment for certain textile and apparel articles. A country will benefit if it is determined that the country meets the defined eligibility criteria. S104 of AGOA includes requirements that the country has established, or is making continual progress toward establishing, among other things: a market-based economy; the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process; the elimination of barriers to US trade and investment; economic policies to reduce poverty; a system to combat corruption and bribery; and the protection of internationally recognised worker rights. In addition, the country may not engage in activities that undermine US national security or foreign policy interests or engage in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights.

If a beneficiary country is not making continual progress in meeting the eligibility requirements, the President must terminate the designation of the country as a beneficiary. The President also may withdraw, suspend, or limit the application of duty-free treatment with respect to specific articles from a country if it is determined that it would be more effective in promoting compliance with AGOA eligibility requirements than terminating the designation of the country as a beneficiary SSA country. In 2018, 40 countries were designated as beneficiary countries. READ HERE >>

Comment
It is likely that Zimbabwe will feature prominently in this year’s deliberations. Now that President Mugabe has been deposed (effectively in a bloodless coup - not frowned upon by many foreign governments) the US will be watching the Zimbabwean election process and outcome with keen interest. Should it go smoothly Zimbabwe could get AGOA privileges for the first time – and should it be granted duty free access to the US market it maybe a significant fillip for the Zimbabwean textiles and apparel manufacturing industry.



ETHIOPIA – ON LOW WAGES & UNIONS, 8 July 2018
“The man widely hailed as the architect of Ethiopia’s new industrialisation agenda, senior adviser to the prime minister, Arkebe Oqubay, has apparently urged workers not to dwell on their low wages, but to see the bigger picture. “We shouldn’t focus on present things, we should think about the future,” he said in a speech on a factory floor when the park opened, according to a worker who attended.

“Bill McRaith, chief supply chain officer for the American PVH, said the new park “will show the world there is no conflict between companies doing well and companies doing right by the people, the community, and the environment they operate within.” But the notion that the HIP is the future of the garment industry is less rosy than it might first appear — in a notoriously exploitative industry, the factories in Ethiopia pay some of the lowest wages of any garment factories in the world. The base salary for workers inside the park is less than US$1 a day.

“David Muller, director of human capital management with TAL Apparel (SEE >>), a company in the HIP, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, explained that the base workers’ salary of 750 birr (US$27.35) is pegged to a “60% efficiency rate,” which he says the factory managers thought would be reached in six months. However, he says they now expect workers to reach 60% in two to three years, meaning that their wages are unlikely to increase significantly until then. In the meantime, when workers ask for salary increases as their productivity goes up, Muller says he has the following response: “I am paying you for 60% [efficiency], so am I to reduce [your salary] then to 30% because you’re only giving me 30% [efficiency]? Am I going to take it back from you?” … “Public unions … can close industries,” says Muller, “It happened in Sri Lanka. Unilever ice cream closed. … So many beautiful organisations and factories had to close because the demands were high.” READ HERE >>

Comment
The remarks by Mr. David Muller are unfortunate; and, they reveal a lot.

It has been reported that before committing to Ethiopia, and the Hawassa Industrial Park, that Tal Apparel (which has related manufacturing operations in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) conducted a feasibility study for setting up garment manufacturing operations in East Africa. As part of this exercise it sought input from the United States’ Agency for International Development’s (USAID) East African Trade & Investment Hub (EATIH). SEE HERE >> Tal Apparel clearly did not do a good job. Surely in this due-dilligence exercise it could have been foreseen that there were going to be significant potential productivity issues and as a consequence it should have planned to allocate sufficient resources to enable its Ethiopian production unit to become as efficient as possible as quickly as possible. Its better to invest in human resources training than it is to spend money on air-freighting product to customers in order to avoid late delivery penalties! Readers will recall that last week this newsletter wrote about another Ethiopian manufacturer air-freighting goods to its buyers.

Enterprises setting up in Ethiopia could really learn a lot from a company like Mazava Garments which set-up in the Tanzania city of Morogoro. . After a very tentative start Mazava's parent flew in a significant number of Malagassy managers and trainers whose responsibility was to train Tanzanian production workers. Within a relatively short period of time the company was humming.

Is it possible that Tal Apparel was, like some star struck lover, swept off its feet by the honey pot of low wages and attractive manufacturing incentives? On the other hand was it corralled into investing in Ethiopia by one of its partner apparel brands / retailers who advised that the Ethiopian government would provide? Either way the promised nirvana did not make them think through issues of setting up a garment factory whose employees were most probablygoing to be the sons and daughters of peasant farmers.

According to reports Tal Apparel started producing dress shirts in March 2017 – about 16 months ago. Given the commitment of the company to operations in Ethiopia many questions must be asked. For example: What is the quality of the expatriat management that is running their Hawassa factory that they only expect to achieve 60% efficiency within another two to three years? Does the company management believe that an approximate monthly wage of US$27 is going to motivate workers or is in any way reasonable (perhaps if the company offered better wages they would be able to attract more skilled workers, and also retain those skilled workers)? It will be interesting to see what the international apparel retailers and brands sourcing from this operation (for a full list of Tal Apparel’s partner brands and retailers SEE >>) think of the comments of Mr. Muller – on the wages paid ... and some of his comments on trade unions?

I would have, in the past ... when I was a trade unionist, relished the opportunity of engaging with someone like Mr. Muller - on the shop floor and across the negotiating table.


ETHIOPIA – LOW WAGE A CURSE NOT A BLESSING, April 2018
Ethiopia's EPRDF government has succeeded in attracting a good number of foreign firms by advertising Ethiopia as a low wage country. Ethiopia’s investment authority publicity materials graphically display Ethiopia’s extremely low wage, also stating that the country does not have a minimum wage applicable to the private sector. Hailemariam Desalegn, ex-prime minister of Ethiopia, claimed that Ethiopia out smarted the rest of Africa in attracting foreign firms: in order “to achieve our advantage in light manufacturing, we have kept such costs [wage] low”. Abdulfetah Abdulah, Ethiopia’s minister of labor and social affairs also said: “We need to be competitive to attract foreign direct investment and we need to create employment.” said Minister of Labor Social Affairs.

Clearly, the Ethiopian government has seen low wage as a blessing, a comparative advantage to cure the country’s economic malaise. The Ethiopian Investment Commission has been reported as stating that “the average wage of workers in the leather factories is US$45 per month, while the minimum wage in Guangdong is about US$300”. On the other hand, it is reported that “entry-level salaries in Ethiopia range from US$35 to US$40 per month, significantly below average Chinese manufacturing wages of US$629 per month, a figure reported to have tripled between 2000 and 2010.” This means that the wage rate Chinese firms pay in Ethiopia would range between 6% to 14% the prevailing factory wages in China.

In this piece the author (Ayele Gelan – PHD) investigates whether there is any empirical evidence to substantiate Ethiopia’s overzealous commitment to industrialise by capitalising on low wages. He seeks to answer questions such as: how low is Ethiopia’s wage rate? How does Ethiopia’s wage and cost of living compare with corresponding figures from other countries? READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – RETAILER TO DISPOSE OF EU ASSETS? 4 July 2018
Steinhoff International is gauging takeover interest in businesses including clothing chain Pepco (SEE >>) as the scandal-hit retailer prepares for the next phase of a recovery plan. According to people familiar with the matter the South African company has informally sounded out potential buyers for Pepco including private equity firms. The profitable chain, with more than 1,300 stores in eastern European countries such as Poland and Romania, has emerged as one of the jewels in Steinhoff’s crown as the retailer battles to survive an accounting scandal. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA - FIRM TAKES OVER LEATHER GOOD FIRM, 9 July 2018
South Africa's Competition Commission has approved, without conditions, the proposed transaction whereby CAVI, intends to acquire New House of Busby.

CAVI, through its subsidiary, NewSosco is active in the manufacture and wholesale distribution of ladies clothing to South African retailers. NewSosco manufacturers’ ladies clothing under in-house brand for Edgars, Miladys, Foschini, Truworths, Makro and Queenspark. CAVI is active in the manufacture and wholesale distribution of perfumes, make-up and related beauty products under its own brand names and also hold rights to distribute and sell certain license brands in South Africa.

Busby wholesale is responsible for the design, manufacture, and wholesale distribution of clothing (ladies and man clothing), luggage, handbags, accessories, eyewear and footwear for its own brand names and private labels. In addition, Busby wholesale is also active in the local, non-branded wholesale sector. Non-branded (private) labels offered by Busby wholesale include handbags (mainly in PU or PVC and cotton, straw and canvas), wallets and back to school bags (including tog bags, pencil cases and lunch bags). The House of Busby (under its Saks division) manufactures products for retailers under their in-house brands, specifically ladies underwear, active wear, sleep wear, scarves, gloves, hats, belts and handbags. Further, Busby supplies its products to other retail stores across the country, such as Truworths and Edgars. Busby Retail trades the House of Busby’s products under eighteen international and coal brands, such as Guess, Aldo, 3INA, Forever New and Women’s Secret, amongst others.
READ HERE >>


ZIMBABWE – COTTON SIDE MARKETING STILL A CONCERN, 28 June 2018
The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has castigated side marketing as it continues to be the biggest threat to the growth of the industry. The cotton industry is not yet out of the woods despite support from the multimillion dollar Presidential Inputs Scheme which has been financing 400,000 growers for the last two years. Cottco Chief Executive Officer told growers gathered at Bveke for the Presidential Inputs Scheme that side marketing which led to the collapse of the industry between 2009 and 2015 is still a major threat which must be brought to an end. READ HERE >>


RWANDA – USED CLOTHING TRADERS LOSE OUT, 1 July 2018
In 2016 the Rwandan government, determined to boost its domestic apparel manufacturing industry, raised the customs tariffs applicable to second hand clothes, disrupting a multi-million dollar industry and setting it on a collision course with the United States. Friends Celestin Twagirayezu (33) and Mercelle Dusabe (35) began selling secondhand clothes a decade ago at adjacent stalls in Kigali's popular Nyabugogo market in Kigali. It was a good business which expanded quickly, allowing them to buy homes and get married. Then Rwanda slapped a 12-fold increase on import tariffs on used clothes and a 10-fold increase on used footwear, a price hike that amounts to a de facto ban for cash-strapped traders. "The decision took everyone by surprise, at first we relied on the stocked clothes but after a few months reality kicked in, and things went from bad to worse," said Twagirayezu. "I am soon throwing in the towel". READ HERE >>


UGANDA – BUY-UGANDA BUILD UGANDA, 3 July 2018
It is increasingly clear that the Uganda government is taking steps to make the ‘Buy-Uganda Build-Uganda’ (aka “BUBU”) mantra a reality going by the 35% and 60% import duties slapped on imported products that Uganda can produce. In this regard:
  • Poly Cotton Material used for making mattresses, import duty is applicable at a rate of 10% instead of 25% for one year. This policy is meant to support the textile sector by increasing availability of these materials, given it is scarce in the region.
  • Uganda is promoting its textile industry in linking production of cotton to processing. In view of more than 4,640 tonnes of blankets US$8m being imported into the country, a further 10% import duty from 25% has been initiated to protect manufacturers such as Sino Textiles limited.
  • Packaging materials such as boxes and other packing containers amounting to 13,485 tonnes valued at US$15.4m is currently imported from outside the region, while another 4,495 tonnes valued at US$11.2m is imported from within the East African region. A 35% levy on imports is now aimed at protecting local manufacturers of these boxes.
READ HERE >>


KENYA - SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY, 8 July 2018
The Kenya government will introduce a single uniform for all schools. Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang says they are in discussion with stakeholders to change the uniform policy and have schools adopt same colour and fabric. He wants local textile industries like Rivatex in Eldoret to prepare to manufacture the new uniforms once the new policy is adopted. “As we move towards having the same uniform and fabric in all our schools we want Rivatex to prepare so that they are able to play a role in the manufacture of the uniforms that will be required,” Belio said. READ HERE >>

Comment
The codification and simplification of school uniform requirements does present any country's textile and garment manufacturers with a unique opportunity to scale-up production. However, in my experience, care must be taken by decision makers that they do not create massive garment production behemoths that put smaller school uniform producers out of business. In my experience in many African countries there are often hundreds of small, women led and worked co-operatives/enterprises, making school uniforms for kids attending schools in their local schools.


ETHIOPIA – MORE WORLD BANK CASH FOR PROJECTS, 25 June 2018
The World Bank approved today an additional US$175m credit in support of the Government of Ethiopia’s effort to create more jobs by attracting investments and improving competitiveness of enterprises in industrial parks and their linked domestic enterprises. Ethiopia has been successful in attracting foreign direct investments in light manufacturing in garment and textile, leather, and agro-processing sectors, by leveraging its relatively low labor costs, competitive energy costs, and preferential market access to the European Union and United States. In 2016, Ethiopia received one of the highest foreign direct investment inflows in Africa, US$3.2bn. The project will continue creating market linkages and enabling domestic small and medium enterprises to sell quality and competitive goods and services to firms operating in industrial parks. READ HERE >>


MAURITIUS – MAURITIAN FIRM COMMITS TO ZERO DISCHARGE, 2 July 2018
Nine new firms / organisations, including Mauritius’s Ciel Group (SEE >>), have joined the ZDHC's "Roadmap to Zero Programme", a coalition of over 100 contributors, working together on the implementation of safer chemistry practices to protect consumers, workers and the environment. The ZDHC Foundation oversees implementation of the ZDHC Programme (SEE >>). Its mission is to advance towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the textile, leather and footwear value chain to improve the environment and people's well being.

As a ZDHC contributor Ciel commits to working collaboratively on the development and implementation of ZDHC Tools. These include, amongst others, the ZDHC e-Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC e-MRSL), the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines, and the newly published ZDHC Wastewater Treatment Technologies document. The ZDHC Wastewater Treatment Technologies document is intended to motivate wet processing facilities and elevate their knowledge to implement the necessary treatment systems in order to meet the requirements of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. READ HERE >>


MOZAMBIQUE – 100% OF COTTON GROWN WILL BE “BETTER COTTON”
In an effort to revitalise its cotton industry, the Mozambique government is partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), with the aim of becoming one of the first countries in the world to produce 100% of its cotton as ‘Better Cotton’. Mozambique is now developing its own national standard for sustainable cotton production, which will mirror the principles and criteria developed by BCI, and include additional sustainability criteria related to the parts of the cotton supply chain not covered by the BCI standard. Following this, the verification and licensing process is expected to be transferred from BCI to the Cotton Institute of Mozambique (IAM). Both are currently training and developing certification bodies based in Mozambique to carry out the external third-party audits. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – RETAILER EDCON RESTRUCTURING PLANS, 5 July 2018
Edcon Holdings Ltd.’s latest recovery plan includes closing chains like Red Square and attempting to lure their customers to its flagship Edgars clothing stores. The move is the brainchild of new Chief Executive Officer Grant Pattison. The 89 year-old Johannesburg-based company has long struggled to stay afloat amid weak consumer spending and economic growth, and had to be taken over by banks and bondholders in 2016 to avoid collapse. Under Pattison’s strategy, Edcon will reduce its more than 1,300-store footprint and cut floor space by 17% over five years to boost profitability. Edcon employs 14,000 permanent staff. The retailer will focus its attention primarily on Edgars and will also retain discount clothing specialist Jet and its CNA chain of stationery stores, though Boardmans homeware is set for the chop. READ HERE >>


EGYPT – COTTON PRODUCTION REBOUND, 5 July 2018
Egyptian cotton production is on course to rebound with help from a devalued currency and bigger cultivation area, and a drop in cotton quality issues. The country’s cotton exports are expected to reach about 52,000 tonnes in the 2017/2018 season that ends in August 2018 - up nearly 37% from the previous season. The head of the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association, said that in the next season they predicted a yield of approximately 120,000 tonnes – and thus exports would rise by about 40-45% if 75,000 tonnes of cotton is exported. READ HERE >>


EGYPT – GARMENT PRODUCTION & EXPORTS, 5 July 2018
Like other exporters, the former chairman of the Ready Made Garments Export Council of Egypt had hoped the November 2016 devaluation of the country’s pound would trigger a surge in foreign sales. That has been slow in coming even though the currency’s value against the United States dollar has more than halved since then, but Kassem is confident that his new US$350m project - a huge, customs tax-exempt textile complex - will be one cog in an export revival by the time its looms start humming. READ HERE >>
 
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FEATURE
SOME ISSUES FACING ETHIOPIAN INDUSTRIALISATION

A recent Ethiopian workshop (18 June 2018), that drew nearly 100 participants including from apparel brands, factories, government, academia, development partners, and some UN agencies, considered the issue of human resources in Ethiopia’s industrialisation drive. That a large part of the workshops’ deliberations focused on the country's textile and apparel manufacturing sector is not surprising.

The workshop covered a number of issues, including:
  • the main labour related challenges faced by investors in the (“flagship”) Hawassa Industrial Park
  • issues of work culture, skills, productivity, managing expectations, and skills retention
  • the importance of incentives, motivation, working conditions and management
  • evidence from around the world on what worked in addressing productivity challenges in manufacturing
  • the experiences of countries such as Bangladesh, China, Mauritius and Singapore that all human resources issues in the course of their industrial development.

In some workshop sessions a range of development partners presented updates on the human resources related programmes that they were running, for example on: existing labour sourcing and recruitment interventions and the lessons that had been learnt; new programmes on human resource management, women support services and matched savings and loan schemes were being developed; a three-year textile industry training project that will train 1,000 line supervisors, 500 quality controllers, and 200 maintenance experts; and, the importance of industrial relations in overcoming constraints such as limited labour-management communication and grievance handling, low wages and poor working conditions. READ HERE >>

Comment
This clearly was not any workshop - for it was one that managed to get Dr. Arkebe Oqubay (Rank of Minister, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office – and considered to be the mastermind of the current Ethiopian mega industrialisation programme) and Dr. Christian Rogg (the Head of the Ethiopian office of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to attend.

The issue of human resources development in Ethiopia's textile and apparel manufacturing industry is perhaps one of the most important issues facing the further rapid development of the industry. To me the main issues that they face include:
  • encouraging employers to commit more resources to massively upgrading the skills of their workforces. I get the sense, from afar, that many manufacturers tend to think that this should be the full responsibility of the government (with support form a range of generous development donors)
  • getting managements to understand that paying workers more would result in additional work seekers and result in enterprises being able to retain workers with skills. Much of which would most probably result in significant productivity gains. At the same time employers could also look at making improvements to other terms and conditions of employment. At a recent workshop I attended in South Africa a more than fairly horrific overview was provided of the some of the abhorrent employment practices of Ethiopian garment firms - especially as it relates to the employment of women.
  • the government developing a modern, more open, system of industrial relations which encourages the development of trade unionism. If the government is not prepared to make the necessary reforms, and then enforce these reforms, then perhaps some of the apparel brands and retailers should strong arm their manufacturers to contract out of the formal system via progressive recognition type agreements.
It will only be a matter of time before some of the international worker and trade union rights non-governmental organisations - like the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and some of its national affiliates, or the Netherlands based Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) - start to get their teeth stuck into Ethiopia. Its known that some folk with strong links to the CCC have already visited Ethiopia and started to examine the sourcing of some brands / retailers.

Industrialisation in Ethiopia must succeed. It can have many positive pro-poor benefits for the country, and it can set an example to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa of the advantages of state led industrialisation. However, for it to succeed it is vital that focused efforts be made on broadly defined human resources issues.
----------------------------------------

Of course there are other issues that Ethiopia needs to attend to in order further develop its textile and apparel manufacturing industry, including: improving the efficiency, and the reducing the cost, of road and rail freight logistics, further developing (and maintaining) industrial buildings and related industrial infrastructure, ensuring the provision of stable power, and making sure that a sufficient domestic supply of cotton is available to feed the country’s textile mills that are coming on line. Many of these can be attended to with adequate planning, and financial resources. Admittedly Ethiopia’s current FOREX crunch, temporarily solved by an infusion of cash from the United Arab Emirates, may make some issues difficult to resolve in the short term.

Even the country’s often tenuous internal security situation can be attended to. The new Ethiopian leader appears to have shown Mandela/De Klerk like leadership in rapidly ending years of oppressive rule. A State of Emergency has ended, political prisoners have been released, political organisations unbanned, media restrictions have been eased, and the peace deal with Eritrea has been re-endorsed.

The continued explosions of “ethnic” (nationalist) tensions must still be a concern. In mid-June 2018 the City of Hawassa (where the flagship textile and apparel Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) is located) was under lock down. The civil strife resulted in many being killed and thousands being displaced. So serious were the tensions that some of the brands and retailers sourcing from the area, and HIP manufacturers, are rumoured to have put in place a number of “security” measures. The US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a travel warning / security alert for the area – “avoid travel to the region around Hawassa and Sodo; if you are already in the area, seek secure shelter; avoid crowds and demonstrations”). SEE HERE >>

Political instability and open internecine strife can make running an enterprise very difficult. Attempting to manage complex production scheduling in distant locations cannot be done efficiently when communications (internet/telephones) are cut; when expatriate staff worry more about their own safety than they do about running a factory; when trucks with manufacturing inputs and finished garments cannot deliver their goods (air freight is prohibitively expensive); when couriers are unable to deliver or collect small manufacturing supplies and samples; when social and quality compliance auditing staff are unable to conduct inspections; and, when workers embark on general strikes in support of political causes or they are simply too scared to go to work.
 
FACT OF THE WEEK

WHAT GARMENTS DID ESWATINI (née SWAZILAND)
EXPORT TO THE UNITED STATES
USING ITS AGOA TRADE PREFERENCES
IN 2014

As was detailed earlier in this newsletter eSwatini has now been authorised by the US Administration to recommence garment exports to the United States using the African Growth & Opportunity Act programme To understand what garments its factories may start exporting to the United States one can examine what its enterprises previously exported to the US. It will be interesting to see to what extent companies that reorientated their production to South African apparel retailers when the country lost AGOA access at the end of 2014 will now be interested in producing for the US export marketplace again.
 
RESEARCH & REPORTS
"The Impacts of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Work on Income and Health: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia". Christopher Blattman & Stefan Dercon. June 2017.

Synopsis: Working with five Ethiopian firms, we randomised applicants to an industrial job offer, an “entrepreneurship” program of US$300 plus business training, or control status. Industrial jobs offered more and steadier hours but low wages and risky conditions. The job offer doubled exposure to industrial work but, since most quit within months, had no impact on employment or income after a year. Applicants largely took industrial work to cope with adverse shocks. This exposure, meanwhile, significantly increased health problems. The entrepreneurship program raised earnings 33% and provided steadier hours. When barriers to self-employment were relieved, applicants preferred entrepreneurial to industrial labor. The full paper can be READ HERE >>.
 
 
The authors of the paper also prepared a newspaper article based on their academic research: “Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong”. Opinion piece in “New York Times”. 27 April 2017. READ HERE >>

Extracts from the newspaper article:
“Textbook economics offers two reasons factory jobs can be ‘an escalator out of poverty.’ First, a booming industrial sector should raise wages over time. Second, boom or not, factory jobs might be better than the alternatives: Unlike agriculture or informal market selling, these factories pay a steady wage, and if workers gained skills valued by the market, they might earn higher wages. Factories may also have incentives to pay more than agricultural or informal market work to persuade workers to stay and be productive. Expecting to prove the experts right, we went to Ethiopia and performed the first randomised trial of industrial employment on workers. Little did we anticipate that everything we believed would turn out to be wrong.

“The factories seemed professional and clean. Whenever a new factory line opened, we saw long rows of applicants — mostly young, unmarried women. The factory managers supported our study because they shared our optimism about the jobs. Since there were more qualified applicants than jobs, we had a perfect opportunity for a randomised trial. Five businesses — a beverage bottler, a garment factory, a shoemaker and two industrial greenhouse operations — agreed to hire qualified applicants by a lottery. We followed the 947 applicants who were and were not offered the job over a year, surveying them multiple times.

“To our surprise, most people who got an industrial job soon changed their minds. A majority quit within the first months. They ended up doing what those who had not gotten the job offers did — going back to the family farm, taking a construction job or selling goods at the market.

“Why were people lining up for hazardous jobs? Partly it was because they did not appreciate the risks, or how hard the work was, until they started. Others anticipated the risks but used factory work as a safety net when times were tough. The people who stayed longer had few alternatives.”




Industrial Policy & Late Industrialisation in Ethiopia”. Arkebe Oqubay (a Minister in the Ethiopian government, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed). Working Paper Series N° 303 of the African Development Bank. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 2018.

Synopsis: Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa in the early twenty-first century. Despite this rapid growth, however, structural transformation of the economy remains the country’s central challenge. This paper reviews the origins of Ethiopia’s industrialisation and industrial policy making process in the 20th century. The Ethiopian government has pursued developmentalism and practiced an active industrial policy since the early 2000s. However, a review of industrial policies in various priority sectors shows that the outcome has been uneven across sectors, indicating the importance of the strong interaction between industrial structure, linkage dynamics, and politics/political economy for the evolution and effectiveness of an industrial policy. After examining the fundamental weakness in Ethiopia’s economic structure, this paper will illustrate why and how industrial policy must focus on manufacturing and exports to generate structural transformation and accelerate catch-up. The Ethiopian experience shows that an activist industrial policy goes hand in hand with an activist state. The full paper 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 >>.

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)
 

  • 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
  • Source Africa - Trade Show - 19-21 June 2019. Cape Town, South Africa. For more information: www.sourceafrica.co.za
 
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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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