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LOGO OF THE
NEWS & RESEARCH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
(#28 / 2018 - 25 September 2018)
www.africantextilesandapparel.com
Between January and July 2018 Egypt had already exported €254,4m worth of clothes to Europe; Morocco €1.6bn and Tunisia about €1.3bn
Between January and July 2018 Madagascar had exported €173.8m worth of apparel to Europe; and Mauritius €128.6m
Between January and July 2018 Ethiopia exported €17.3m worth of garments to Europe; Kenya €2.9m, and Lesotho €2.5m
 
 
NEWS

eSWATINI (nèe SWAZILAND) – POLICE ASSAULT GARMENT WORKERS, 19 September 2018
Garment and textile union workers are not relenting on their demands for better wages and working conditions despite the use of excessive force by the Royal eSwatini Police which led to the arrest and injury of scores of workers. The police arrested and beat up organisers from the Amalgamated Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA) - affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union - to stop them from protesting. Over 10,000 workers from five garment and textile factories began protesting two weeks ago after negotiations were deadlocked at the Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration Commission. They are wanting employers’ to "honestly" engage in collective bargaining to improve wages and working conditions. READ HERE >>


ZIMBABWE – FIRM EXPLORES NEW MARKETS, 23 September 2018
One of Zimbabwe’s leading operational garment companies, Paramount Garments (SEE >>), has set sights in the American market. The Paramount Garments managing director also advised that potential clients from Canada and the European Union had also visited the company’s factories in Harare and Bulawayo on a feasibility study mission. Paramount Garments currently exports its garments to buyers in the region, and also to places like the Sudan, Kenya and Germany. Paramount has a related South African operation called Javlin (SEE >>). READ HERE >>

Comment
Paramount must be urgently looking to find alternate markets for its garments … and most probably some foreign exchange to buy the fabrics that it would need to make garments. It is currently thought to be exporting significant numbers of garments to South Africa using a colonial trade agreement concluded between South Africa and the then administration of "Southern Rhodesia". This agreement was resuscitated by the parties a couple of years ago. In spite of repeated inquiries the South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) has never clarified in what South African “Government Gazette” the recent zero tariffs (and the abolition of all quotas) applicable to the South Africa-Zimbabwe trade agreement were published. In late 2017 South Africa gave Zimbabwe notice that it would cancel this bi-lateral trade agreement. The agreement will now expire in November 2018. Zimbabwe will, from end November 2018, have to trade with South Africa in terms of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on trade.


ZIMBABWE – COMPANY TO EXPAND, 19 September 2018
James North Zimbabwe, one of the largest producers of industrial protective wear and tarpaulins, projects output to increase well above 60% in 2018, buoyed by increased demand from the formal sector, currently in progressive recovery. The company specialises in protective gloves and shoes and mainly serves manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors. It also exports to neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi, as well as Kenya and Rwanda. James North management stated that they had started refurbishing parts of its plants and expected to spend about US$60-100k on the retooling, which will cover sewing machines and other equipment. READ HERE >>

Comment
I guess that James North would also be looking for foreign exchange in order purchase its new equipment.


ETHIOPIA - DBL UPBEAT ON FUTURE, 19 September 2018
The increasing production and labour costs in all the major manufacturing destinations including China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh have forced many brands, retailers and manufacturers to look for cheaper alternatives. Taking advantage of the same, the sub-Saharan nation of Ethiopia — capitalising on the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and backed by a government working hard to attract business with tax breaks, subsidies, and cheap loans — has emerged as a strong contender. Encouraged by the duty benefits for exports from the African nation to US markets, DBL Group (SEE >>) from Bangladesh has become the first from the country to set up an integrated textile and garment factory in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. DBL had to train up around 1,800 people while taking in 200 more from Bangladesh to kick start its operations in Ethiopia. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PACKAGE, 21 September 2018
The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) said that they support the economic stimulus plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa (READ HERE >>). They singled out:
  • the promised greater support for the clothing and textile sector, which SACTWU states is the most labour-intensive sector in the manufacturing industry
  • the intended vigorous crackdown on illegal imports, which will provide a stimulant to local manufacturers as well as much needed job protection, especially for the clothing, textiles and footwear sectors, as well as improve much needed revenue collection. SACTWU pointed out that smuggling of Chinese made clothing made caused a R2.3bn (US$160m) to the Southern African Customs Union's customs revenue pool in 2016
  • the reference to more procurement of hospital bed linen which SACTWU stated they hoped would be locally manufactured.
SACTWU noted the plan to increase government procurement from co-operatives and they called on government not to dothis without the government tackling bogus co-operatives, which they said was a destroyer of decent jobs.
Source: SACTWU Press Statement
SEE >>

Comment
In 2016 – the smuggling of Chinese made clothing – cost R2.3bn in lost revenues. Hmmmmmm! I wonder where that estimate comes from? As one seasoned industry watcher commented: “I think what happens is people look at total clothing imports (which is known), they then attach an arbitrary number to the percentage of all imports which come in under invoiced (no one knows this figure), then decide on the level of underinvoicing (no one knows this either), and hey ho we have a (totally fictitious) figure we can quote.” I am surprised that SACTWU did not also convert this into potential jobs lost!
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TANZANIA – WORN UNDERWEAR REMOVED, 18 September 2018
The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has launched a nationwide operation to rid the country of secondhand undergarments. Last week, TBS officers raided Tandika Market in Dar es Salaam and confiscated underwear. A TBS inspector said the operation is aimed at ensuring secondhand underclothing is not used by Tanzanians over risks of contracting skin diseases. READ HERE >>

Comment
Tanzania is most probably still trying to grapple with it having to retreat on a ban on the import of all worn clothing after the United States threatened to take away its AGOA market access privileges if it did. If it had done so it would have been highly likely that it would have lost its AGOA access and this would have meant that the owners of Tanzania Tooku Garments (SEE >>) and Mazava Fabrics & Production (SEE >>) would closed their facilities leaving thousands of workers unemployed.

Removing used underwear from the market may earn a government some instant credits but it does not sort out the problem of value chain industrialisation. T
anzania needs to do two things:
  • refine further, and then roll-out, a strategy (elements of which would be prioritised) that will attract textile and apparel investors who would be interested in supplying goods to the international marketplace using the preferential trade agreements that allow the country to access the Southern African Customs Union, the European Union, and the United States marketplaces.
  • develop a strategy that will see local and regional textile and garment firms supplying the Tanzania and regional EAC markets.
Both of these strategies (and Tanzania has not been short of sector development strategies - for the most recent READ HERE >>) would essentially be underpinned, in my view, with a focus on creating new textile manufacturing operations, and upgrading existing textile plants. In order to support the twin objectves outlined above it is vital that the Tanzania government change its policy on the granting of work permits for key expatriat staff - heavily restricting access to these permits is counter-productive and it will cause many investors (and their buyers) to set-up elsewhere in Africa.
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One wonders why some countries fixate only about "worn underwear" and "disease" when many other used garments could also carry infections. If disease is an issue Tanzania should require that all commercially and donated worn clothing imported into its borders is washed, and is also accompanied by a (fumigation/sanitation) certificate issued by an accredited government institution. If it did this it would not be alone in doing so - for many other countries do this! SEE >>


AFRICA – FORCED & CHILD LABOUR IN AFRICA’S COTTON & TEXTILES SECTORS, 20 September 2018
The United States Department of Labour (ILAB) maintains a list of goods and their source countries which it has reason to believe are produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards, as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act (TVPRA) of 2005 and subsequent reauthorisations. As of 20 September 2018, the List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour comprises 148 goods from 76 countries. A number of African countries appear on this listing, including: Benin – cotton (forced & child labour); Burkina Faso – cotton (forced & child labour); Egypt – cotton (child labour); Ethiopia – handwoven textiles (forced & child labour); and, Zambia – cotton – (child labour). READ HERE >> (see table page 9-10)

Comment
I have no doubt that in some African countries child labour is used in the production of cotton. Generally, though not in all cases, these children are part of peasant farmer family household production units and are engaged in producing harvesting cotton on their family’s own smallholding.


KENYA - NEW TAX FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES, 23 September 2018
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has noted with concern the impact that the newly imposed tax measures may have on the manufacturing sector and, the overall economy. KAM complained about a range of taxes recently introduced by the country's government. The specifically pointed out their crticism of the Housing Development Fund tax that is to be paid by the employee at 1.5% and employer at 1.5% of the monthly basic salary. KAM stated: "We note that these increased costs had not been factored into the operational planning of businesses and the disruptions could mean loss of jobs. The newly introduced housing tax of 1.5% is one such cost that employers will have to bear. Specifically sectors such as Garment Manufacturers (EPZs mainly), which are labour-intensive will be adversely affected. Some may opt to move their operations to neighbouring countries or automate their processes." READ HERE >>

Comment
Its interesting to see that the Kenya Government has still not gazetted the new minimum wages for the country's textile and apparel manufacturing industry. At a 2018 May Day rally the Kenyan President declared that all Kenyan workers' minimum wages would be raised by 5% with effect from 1 May 2018. Kenyan employers protested - especially those in the Export Processing Zones. Now - almost 5 months later - the minimum wage increase has still not been gazetted nor implemented ... and now workers will find their pay packages lighter by 1.5%! One does not even hear any cries of indignation from that country's trade union movement.


ZIMBABWE – COTTON OUTPUT SURGES 76%, 20 September 2018
After making a huge come back, the curtain comes down on the 2018 Zimbabwean cotton marketing season with production hitting 130,000 tonnes, the highest output in nearly five years. This year’s output — achieved on the back of Government support through the Presidential Inputs Scheme — is 76% higher than last year’s national output. READ HERE >>


ZIMBABWE – COTTON FARMERS URGED TO DE-STOCK, 18 September 2018
Zimbabwe’s Plant Quarantine Services has warned cotton farmers to complete the de-stocking of cotton stems or risk being penalised starting next week. The removal of stocks controls the resistance of pests and diseases. A plant health inspector in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate & Rural Resettlement has said that farmers who ignored the order to de-stock cotton stems in their fields will be fined US$20 for every hectare which a farmer has failed to de-stock. READ HERE >>


AFRICA - FASHION AND SCALING UP PRODUCTION, 23 September 2018
Africa’s fashion industry remains a very local affair. Most African brands are small operations, with no production capacity to supply large orders. Scaling up is hard, given electricity shortages and other manufacturing glitches that come with producing in a developing country. Niche local brands already have the bespoke quality international buyers are looking for, now a few African entrepreneurs are trying to find out what it takes to produce clothes that are African, sustainable, and can be sold at scale internationally. READ HERE >>


AFRICA – INDIAN GARMENT SOFTWARE COMPANY MAKES AFRICAN MOVE, 19 September 2018
Indian software company, ThreadSol (SEE >>), is embarking on a programme to supply the African continent’s apparel industry with its productivity enhancement software – “intelloCut” and “intelloBuy”. To this end ThreadSol participated in Origin Africa event 2018 held in Kenya. ThreadSol is also set to participate in the next African event of ATF (International Apparel, Textile & Footwear trade exhibition) from 20-22 November 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. READ HERE >>


EAST AFRICA – FLAT KNITTING PLANTS, 18 September 2018
Flat knitting machine builder Stoll (SEE >>) has spent more than 40 years building up its business in key markets across Africa. It view Madagascar and Kenya as attractive markets. According to Stoll Madagascar, compared to the flat knitting history of Mauritius, is a relatively new player in the business. They advise that Madagascar is still dominated by the hand flat knitting industry where there are many locally owned companies as well as Mauritian, Chinese, Italian, French and Dutch owned firms. They state that wherever foreign ownership is involved, electronic machines play a more and more important role. Stoll states that Kenya’s flat knitting sector is dominated by the production of school sweaters. READ HERE >>


WEST AFRICA - COTTON EXPORTS DOWN, 17 September 2018
Ivory Coast exported 259,027 tonnes of cotton over the first seven months of 2018, down 2.6% from the same period a year earlier, provisional port data has shown. The main port of Abidjan is also the primary point of export for cotton produced in Ivory Coast’s landlocked neighbours of Mali and Burkina Faso. READ HERE >>


EGYPT – 14 STATE OWNED GINS TO BE SOLD, 17 September 2018
Egypt will sell 14 cotton ginning operations worth EGP27bn (US$1.51bn) after changing their business focus in order to fund the development of some spinning and weaving companies, Egypt's business sector minister Hesham Tawfik has said. The plan to develop the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving includes the repair of old equipment in 25 cotton gins, the closure of 14 cotton gins and the import of modern ginning equipment for 11 cotton gins. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – MOVING TO THE HIGH GROUND, 23 Aug – 11 Sept 2018
The South African government is developing guidelines to regulate hemp cultivation and manufacturing. It is currently illegal to cultivate hemp in South Africa as it is classified under the cannabis species. According to the country’s Agricultural Research Council, hemp can be used to make more than 25,000 consumer products, from hemp apparel and accessories to houseware and cosmetics. South Africa’s Trade & Industry minister said the government recognises the potential of commercial value chains of cannabis and related products. It will consider the obstacles and opportunities for South Africa to become an active and innovative player in the growing hemp market. READ HERE >> and READ HERE >>


ETHIOPIA – EXPLORING TEXTILE WORKER WORKING & LIVING CONDITIONS, September 2019
The German Headquartered EDP Association, a non-funding charitable association, that offers leadership training programmes on poverty-related subjects for decision-makers from politics, the business sector, the Churches and the civil society will lead a delegation to Ethiopia between 20-27 October 2018 to examine working condition in some of Ethiopia’s textile and apparel factories. According to EDP the participants will live and work with workers from a textile company. More on their Ethiopia programme can be READ HERE >>.


GHANA – DOMESTIC TEXTILE PROCUREMENT, 19 September 2018
The Ghanaian Vice President has revealed that Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL – SEE >>) will produce the clothing for about 100,000 uniforms for graduates under the Nation Builders Corp (NABCO). According to the Vice President, the initiative will ensure the sustainability of the company and also encourage the culture of accepting made in Ghana products. READ HERE >>

About 200 workers of Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL) have been sacked while the remaining staff have not been paid for the past four months, spokesperson for the Coalition of Textile Workers in Ghana, has revealed. According to the trade unionist all efforts to get the salary arrears paid have been futile. The workers have been laid off because textile piracy is killing the sale of the textiles industry. They union has appealed to the government to intervene. READ HERE >>


GHANA – NEW ETHICAL APPAREL AFRICA WEBSITE, September 2018
Ethical Apparel Africa have advised that they have a new web site.
 
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FEATURE

SOUTH AFRICA'S
RETAIL CLOTHING, TEXTILE, FOOTWEAR & LEATHER
'MASTERPLAN'


"REVIEW THE EXISTING INCENTIVE PROGRAMMES FIRST
THEN DEVELOP AN INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT PLAN!"

PART II - THE COMPETITIVENESS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME

As was reported in the last two editions of the "African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor" a number of South African cotton-textile-apparel-footwear-retail value chain stakeholders are currently engaged in a process that will lead to the development of “Masterplan”. This “Masterplan” – essentially a value chain development strategy for a defined niche of the broader cotton-textile-apparel pipeline – will run between 2018/19 until the year 2030.
(The comments made here under reference a "draft" PowerPoint presentation prepared by the "Masterplan" consultants - circa late August 2018.)
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Last week I commented upon the need for the Production Incentive Programme (PIP) element of the South African Department of Trade & Industry’s (DTI) Clothing & Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) to be reviewed by independent consultants. This week I argue that the DTI's Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CIP) component, also managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), should also be subject to an independent review.
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According to the IDC (SEE >>) the CIP aims, through the cluster approach, to create a group of globally competitive companies in the qualifying sectors that would ensure a sustainable business environment able to retain and grow employment levels in South Africa. The CIP aims to build and improve capacity and competitiveness in manufacturers and designers through related value chains to effectively supply their customers locally and internationally. The CIP understands competitiveness to encompass issues of cost, quality, flexibility, reliability, adaptability and the capability to innovate. Competitiveness improvement interventions should thus include innovative activities related to people, products, processes and market development.

Competitiveness improvement should focus on achieving higher levels of productivity through industrial and/or process engineering and management activities. Interventions to promote improvement should be based on a thorough benchmarking process, wherein cluster and member performance and processes are compared to "best practice” both locally and internationally. Proposed interventions are required to address the performance gaps identified through the benchmarking analysis. Interventions can include direct shop-floor interventions emphasising the need to improve people, product and processes within the production environment as well as assistance given to the cluster as a whole to improve member's competitiveness capabilities. Competitiveness improvement should also focus on market development in order to find and grow markets for members' manufactured products. Three types of clusters are envisaged.

An Ordinary Cluster is a group of at least five manufacturing companies or a combination of manufacturing and related organisations (e.g. retailers, design houses, component manufacturers) that are collaborating towards improving the competitiveness of cluster members both individually and as a cluster. The CIP offers Ordinary Clusters a cost-sharing grant incentive of 75% of the qualifying project costs. The remaining 25% should come from the cluster participants. These incentives will not cover costs pertaining to machinery, equipment, commercial vehicles, land or buildings. Grant support for each approved partnership will be limited to a cumulative ceiling of R25m (US$1.75m) over the period of the programme implementation.

A National Cluster is a sector or sub-sector wide development initiative coordinated by a national structure that is responsible for facilitating and managing national shared resources and projects as well as overseeing subnational cluster projects, where applicable. Activities of a National Cluster need to focus on Skills Development, Technology Development and Research and Incubation of SME manufacturers, service providers and suppliers through shared resources facilities.

A Subnational Cluster may be formed with or after a National Cluster to implement and support the strategic objectives and activities of the National Cluster.

The CIP offers National Clusters and their supporting Subnational Clusters an initial investment grant of 100% of the approved qualifying expenditure for the first year, where after it becomes a cost sharing grant of 95% from the CIP in year 2, 90% from the CIP in year 3, 80% from the CIP in year 4 and 70% from the CIP in year 5. The balance of funding needs to be raised from cluster participants.
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In their August 2018 PowerPoint presentation the “Masterplan” consultants make the following observations about the CIP:
  • “Value chain production aggregates and capabilities have atrophied over last decade. The ... CIP have had some impact on improving capabilities and performance, but manufacturing essentially remains non-dynamic” (slide 6)
  • “Value chain leakage – e.g. farming, pockets of inappropriate expenditure” (Slide 32)
  • “Additionality not being achieved” (Slide 32)
  • “Support for firms also benefiting from designated supply” (Slide 32)
  • “Insufficient certainty re continued support” (Slide 32).
The “Masterplan” consultants then recommend that the CIP to be extended for 3 more years – but with tighter qualification criteria.

"Extended"! Astounding! ... especially in the context that it is more than likely that no thorough independent reviews have been conducted of the performance of all/most of the CIP's cluster interventions. Its must be mentioned that the “Masterplan” consultants also supply "cluster facilitation services" to two of the larger, perhaps more successful, CIP supported cluster programmes – the KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape textile and apparel clusters. Their views on the successes (or otherwise) of all CIP cluster programmes is valuable - but they are not independent views!

As I said with regards the DTI’S CTCP PIP incentive I have no doubt that it must have done some good … but prior to extending the PIP it MUST first be independently reviewed. I will say this now – before more public funds are allocated to any of the DTI’s CTCP CIP clusters – they MUST also be independently reviewed. A review will allow the public funds to be used more effectively.

If it must be said I agree with clustering efforts - I think that they are good ways in which industry stakeholders can develop their own plants and their value chains. I remember (and with my age this is difficult) being very angry with South Africa's DTI when they pulled the plug on an ambitious ("Michael Porter" orientated) cluster programe developed by staff within their department in the 1990s.

In my view each of the activities of the following cluster should be reviewed:
  • the Southern Africa Sustainable Textile & Apparel Cluster (SASTAC) - this was initially given R200m (US$14m) in public funding
  • the Sustainable Cotton Cluster (SEE >>)
  • the South African Mohair Cluster (SEE >>)
  • the Cape Clothing & Textile Cluster (SEE >>)
  • the KwaZulu-Natal Clothing & Textile Cluster (SEE >>)
  • the National Footwear & Leather Cluster.
And while these are being reviewed the DTI may also want to look at the Technical Textiles Cluster. If I have left any state funded value chain CIP cluster kindly let me know.

In my view the elements of an independent CIP review would include:
  • when the cluster commenced its activities: the number of firms that consistently participated in its activities; the estimated number of firms in the sector; the numbers of people they employed at the beginning of the process, and the numbers they currently employ
  • a critical overview of each of the operational programmes implemented by each cluster (and the resources spent on each programme)
  • of the firms that consistently participated in the cluster by how much did their competitiveness improve by over the time they were in the cluster; is each firms’ performance likely to continue to improve in the future as a result of participation in the cluster. If there was productivity improvement have these gains been shared with their employees
  • did the improved performance of some firms in the cluster lead to systemic changes for the whole value chain
  • an overview of the management of each cluster – by the cluster stakeholders themselves, by the appointed cluster consultants, by the IDC, and by the DTI
  • the likelihood of the cluster being able to continue without a constant flow of public funds
  • the amount of public funds allocated to the cluster, the amount of funds contributed by the private sector, and an audit relating to these funds.
Of course, any changes in firm competitiveness must be disaggregated from the positive changes that may have been induced by the PIP incentive or any other government support intervention (e.g. the Black Industrialists scheme; financial support from the IDC's own resources; funds accessed from the Sectoral Education Training Authority; funding from municipalities and provincial government; etc).

On the basis of a review of each cluster the CIP review consultants (who should be allocated substantial funds to undertake the review) should make some recommendations as to how the CIP:
  • may be better administered (there is always room for improvement!) in order to ensure that financial failures are reduced, and the programme’s objectives are met
  • rules may be tweaked / completely reworked in order to ensure a more successful value chain.
The final report should be given to the "Masterplan" consultants. The views of the consultants should then be deliberated upon by government policy officials, together with stakeholders (retail, industry and trade unions) so as to properly inform the "Masterplan". In the pursuit of transparency the review report should also be released to the public.
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And what are some of the things that really interest me about some of the activities of the clusters – aside from whether they really improved firm / value chain competitiveness? Here are some issues:
  • SASTAC apparently spent about R32m (US$2.23m) to develop a software programme that would enable consumers to trace the cotton in their garments from the farm where it was grown; to the cotton gin where the seed was separated from the lint; to the spinning and weaving/knitting mills where the textiles were made; to the garment factory where an item of clothing was stitched. Was this amount really spent? Who now owns this software? I assume that this software has now been fully developed - if so ... is it now being commercially used by those that promoted its development? (In other words how many garments have thus far had a tracking code attached to them?)
  • is it true that all South African cotton ginners (I think there are seven of them) are now being asked to jointly contribute about R400k (US$28k) a month in order that they can use the tracability software? Are other value chain stakeholders (e.g. textile and apparel manufacturers, apparel retailers, cotton farmers, Cotton SA, the trade union, etc) also going to make a contribution? Has any calculation being done as to by how much full traceability, using the developed software programme, will contribute to adding value to garments produced? How much more money will cotton ginners be paid for the cotton that they gin if that cotton leaves their gin with a traceability certificate?
  • what are all the reasons for the National Footwear & Leather Cluster, that was established at Vaal University of Technology, being closed? Apparently there is a replacement footwear and leather cluster but the DTI is reluctant to sign off on support for the new cluster. Why is this the case?
  • apparently an audit of South African value chain factories is underway. Was this funded by one of the CIP funded clusters? If so which one? What is the purpose of this audit? How much did this cost to develop – including its software, the website, and the collection of company data used to populate the data base? What are the average fees charged by the consultant for a "C6 Audit"? What is the long term sustainability plan for the directory - in otherwords how will it be updated without state support? See: www.textiledirectory.co.za.
  • the "Masterplan" consultants refer to "pockets of inappropriate expenditure" - what on earth does this mean or refer to?
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And while we are on the subject of reviews perhaps its time the training funded by South Africa's Sector Education Training Authority (SETA) for the textile-apparel value chain - the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing (FPM-SETA - SEE >>) - should be independently reviewed. The independent review should look at a range of issues, including ... the cost to train a sewing machinist; and the efficacy of that training!
NEXT WEEK!
THE (DRAFT) MASTERPLAN AND THE SMUGGLING OF
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR
 
 
TABLE OF THE WEEK
AFRICA’S GARMENT EXPORTS TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
 
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), aside from Mauritius and Madagascar, few countries export significant quantities of garments to the European Union (EU). Even some of the countries that export huge volumes of apparel to the United States (e.g. Lesotho, Tanzania, Kenya, eSwatini/Swaziland) export derisory amounts to the EU. South Africa, which has a relatively large clothing manufacturing industry, exports relatively little too.
Its highly unlikely that any of these big SSA apparel producers will ever export more clothes to the EU - even with the new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) in place - unless some proactive measures are taken. It would be good for the governments of Lesotho, Tanzania, Kenya, eSwatini/Swaziland and South Africa to engage with their manufacturing private sectors to see why their EU exports are so low. On the basis of this they should then consider developing and rolling-out some strategies (perhaps supported with EU development assistance) to up the level of trade. If the EU believes that market forces alone will result in more SSA garments entering their marketplace - via the new array of EPAs - they are very mistaken.

Many SSA apparel manufacturing states are too dependent upon trade with a single market (especially with the US - using the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) arrangement - this is economic madness. States need to urgently initiate a market diversification strategy. If Madagascar and Mauritius can do it so can other continental SSA countries!
Some North African countries export huge amounts of garments to the Member States of the EU. Its not difficult to see why this trade takes place - low cost and geographic proximity.
 
RESEARCH

Work, Employment, and Training Through Africa-China Cooperation Zones: Evidence from the Eastern Industrial Zone in Ethiopia”. Ding Fei. Working Paper No. 2018/19. China Africa Research Initiative (CARI), School of Advanced International Studies. Johns Hopkins University. Washington, DC. 2018.

Synopsis: This paper investigates the developmental impacts of Ethiopia’s Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ) through a cross-company and cross-sector analysis of local worker experiences of working for, training with, and learning from resident companies. The paper highlights both similarities and differences in Chinese companies’ management strategies and training provisions, which are contingent upon industry sector, scale of production, and market conditions. While 60% of the surveyed local workers did receive training of varying quality and length, they were not satisfied with the training provision and promotion opportunities in current companies. The paper argues for concrete and targeted policy implementation by the Ethiopian government to enforce skills transfer by foreign investors, building of linkages between companies and local training institutions, and organizing zone-wide skills sessions. See the full paper HERE >> and for the policy brief READ HERE >>
.
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
  • International Cotton & Textile Conference - Conference & Trade Show - 27-29 September 2018. Koudougou, Burkina Faso. For more information: SEE HERE >>; but also SEE HERE >> and SEE HERE >>
  • Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week (ASFW) - Trade Show - 1-4 October 2018. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more information: www.asfw-online.com
  • Maroc Sourcing 2018 - Trade Show - 11-12 October 2018. Marrakech, Morocco. For more information: www.marocsourcing.ma
  • Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference - Annual Conference - 22-24 October 2018. Milan, Italy. For more Information: www.textileexchange.org
  • Cotton House Africa - Pan African Cotton Conference - 1-3 November 2018. Kampala, Uganda. For more information: Cotton House Africa
  • 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 and SEE HERE >>
  • Sourcing at Magic - Trade Show - 4-7 February 2019. Las Vegas, United States. For more information: www.ubmfashion.com
  • Morocco Fashion & Textile - Trade Show - 28-31 March 2019. Casablanca, Morocco, For more information: www.moroccostyle.net
  • Source Africa - Trade Show - 12-14 June 2019. Cape Town, South Africa. For more information: www.sourceafrica.co.za
 
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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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