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LOGO OF THE
NEWS & RESEARCH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
(#12 / 2019  -  23 April 2019)
www.africantextilesandapparel.com
South African Co-op Minimum Wages Loophole Maybe Closed!
African Trade
Unions Discuss AGOA
PVH to Investigate Worker / Union / Women Abuses at Ethiopian Factories
NEWS
 
LESOTHO – GARMENT SECTOR MINIMUM WAGES INCREASED,  16 April 2019
Some of Donald Trump’s branded golf gear – which gets made in Lesotho – is now going to be substantially more expensive.

The Government of Lesotho has published the new minimum wages applicable to workers in the country’s textile and garment manufacturing industry. The new minimum wages were made retrospectively active from 1 April 2019 and will remain in place until 31 March 2020.

The new minimum wage for a qualified sewing machinist with more than 12 months of employment with the same employer is now M2,120 (US$150) per month.  This represents a 6% increase over the previous minimum wage.  The entry-level wage for a “general worker” in the industry is now M1,900 (US$135) per month - this represents a 12% increase over the previous minimum.

Source: Legal Notice Number 30 of 2019 - Lesotho Government Gazette (published on 16 April 2019). If you want a copy of the minimum wage rates contact: editor@africantextilesandapparel.com

Comment
It will be interesting to see what the increase in the minimum wages will do to Lesotho’s textile and apparel manufacturing industry.  In the medium to long term will manufacturers leave the country; will they experience reduced orders as the Ethiopian behemoth ramps-up its production?

Two years ago the new minimum wage for a qualified Basotho sewing machinist with more than 12 months employment with the same employer was M1,456 (US$103) a month – since August 2018 minimum wages have escalated by about 45,6%; a general worker’s pay has increased by about 53.5% over the same period.

The significant increase in workers’ wages in Lesotho has, in my view, been promoted by a political class that has wanted to win potential general elections; and which has tried to ensure that their faction within the ruling ABC party could more easily marginalise a new insurgent ABC party cadre.

I regularly get asked what the effects of these wages increases would be on the textile and apparel industry in Lesotho.  I know that since November 2018 at least two garment plants have closed – one of these closures can be directly related to the September 2018 minimum wage increase.  I am aware that there have been retrenchments at a couple of enterprises, and there has been some short-time working. 

I know that two plants – and there may be others – have examined the productivity of their own plants.  This is a good move.  Of course, one plant’s efforts were somewhat stymied when the Lesotho Ministry of Labour & Employment (MoLE) turned down some of their work permit applications for the skilled staff that they hoped would completely rejig their production processes.  It’s like shooting yourself in one foot … and then deciding to also shoot your other foot moments later!

In my view since the significant wage increase of September 2018 many clothing employers have remained in Lesotho for two reasons.  First –- the Lesotho currency (the Loti - which is tied to the South African Rand at par) has lost value vis a vis the US$.  This has meant, especially for the US exporters, that they have scored on currency fluctuations.  Second -– Lesotho firms have continued to get garment orders as many US buyers believed that it would only be a matter of time before the Trump administration imposed massive customs tariffs on Chinese origin garments.  In other words: Lesotho – in spite of the wages increases – is a potential competitive alternate supply country should China become too expensive.

If it were not for these two "events" – which the Lesotho government certainly did not take into consideration when deciding to back substantial minimum wage increase – many Lesotho exporters would have finished their orders and moved elsewhere.

I am, however, aware that some Lesotho AGOA garment manufacturers have been looking around at other investment destinations – some have been on trips to East Africa and Ethiopia; and, of course, Vietnam has always looked appealing for some.


ETHIOPIA – PVH TO INVESTIGATE LABOUR ABUSE CLAIMS,  16 April 2019
Fashion giant PVH has said it would investigate reports that Ethiopian workers who make clothes for their high-street stores routinely face verbal abuse and discrimination and earn as little as US$0.12 per hour.  According to the US-based Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), which monitors labour conditions worldwide workers in PVH supplier factories in Ethiopia are also forced to do unpaid overtime and lose pay for drinking water at their work stations.  READ HERE >>

 
The WRC concentrated its investigations on four Ethiopian production units - ironically three of these have WRAP labour compliance certifications (SEE >>).  The factories are: MAA Garment & Textiles (has WRAP Platinum status - WCRAP's highest level),  Jay-Jay Textiles (WRAP Gold status),  Arvind Lifestyle Apparel Manufacturing (WRAP Gold status), and JP Textile Ethiopia (this makes woven fabrics - in 2016 PVH loaned the JP Textiles' parent company (Wuxi Jinmao) US$13.8m in order to develop the Hawassa woven yarn dye textile mill.  READ HERE >> - page F56)
SOURCE: WRC Ethiopia Report - page 31.

Comment
The WRC report “ETHIOPIA IS A NORTH STAR: Grim Conditions and Miserable Wages Guide Apparel Brands in their Race to the Bottom" – was covered in this blog/publication (see “African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor” – see - Vol. 2, No. 11 of 16 April 2019).
SOME WRC REPORT VIGNETTES

“Managers at all four factories routinely subject workers to verbal abuse, shouting at workers, calling them “stupid” or “worthless” or “trash,” and threatening to fire them.  Pregnant employees at MAA Garments & Textiles (SEE >>) are castigated as malingerers looking to avoid hard work."
 
JP Textile (Ethiopia) has an openly acknowledged policy that the company will not hire women who are either pregnant or acknowledge an intention of becoming pregnant.  Managers sometimes put their hands on the stomachs of new recruits to detect signs of pregnancy."

"MAA’s managers have used their power, over matters such as granting promotions, to compel some women workers to provide sexual 
favours."

"At all four factories, workers perform significant unpaid laboUr – either uncompensated overtime hours or off the-clock work during breaks or before shifts."
 
"Managers in all four factories exact grossly excessive wage deductions for minor disciplinary infractions, such as docking workers up to three days’ pay for such transgressions as drinking water at their workstations, speaking loudly, or arriving late to work.  At three factories, the practice is standard but unofficial; at MAA it is codified as official policy.  Jay Jay Textiles,  Arvind (SEE >>), and MAA ignore legal and code of conduct provisions banning forced overtime."
 
"Workers at MAA and Arvind report that it is a common occurrence for a worker to collapse unconscious at her or his workstation, likely due to a combination of overwork, insufficient rest, and other factors.  MAA’s response was to enact a work rule calling for anyone who faints to be fired and prohibiting any worker from coming to their aid."
If true some of these factory practices go way beyond infractions or worker and trade union rights - the treatment of women is especially noxious.

It's good that PVH is undertaking an investigation – but what about the other apparel retailers and brands that are buying from these plants?  What actions are H&M, the Children's' Place, Walmart and Gerber taking?

One would hope that PVH:
  • would not use their in-house compliance staff and would instead bring in outside professionals.  One of the plants in the Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) is majority owned by PVH (it’s a joint venture with the Indian multinational - Arvind).  There would be a clear conflict of interest if PVH’s own staffed investigated the abuse claims – for PVH and Arvind have more than a manufacturer-buyer relationship … in Hawassa they have a joint manufacturing venture (PVH has the majority of the shares in the “PVH Arvind Manufacturing Private Limited Company”)!  I believe there would be little point in PVH getting the ILO’s Better Work team in because this team is still very inexperienced.
  • could use this opportunity to get an overview of some of the allegations of a number of workers which led to wildcat strike action in early March 2019 (“African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor” – Vol. 2, No. 6 of 12 March 2019).  In this strike, action workers complained of an unsafe working environment, and them being exposed to sexual abuses and abduction.  In this context should there have been strike action what ultimately happened to perceived strike "ring leaders" - are they still employed?  And if not, what are the reasons for them no longer being engaged by the factory.
  • an independent investigation team could also examine rumours that manufacturers in the Hawassa Industrial Park operate an informal worker “no-poaching” system whereby manufacturers will not employ someone who has recently resigned from a company in the Industrial Park.  This is a sort of a restraint of trade arrangement - but this time designed for poor people that have skills.  It's ironic that markets must work for the rich - but when it could work for the poor ... there may be hidden barriers.
  • release a public report after their investigation indicating what issues they found; and the reasons why their internal system for monitoring factory working conditions may have failed.
If the WRC allegations are found to be true, it must, to some extent, raise serious questions about the credibility of the WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certification system - including one platinum level factory.
------------------------------------------

... and on the WRC Ethiopian report – it's dated December 2018 – but it was only released in mid-April 2019.

Why?

Could it be that the WRC was waiting for a visit by the head of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) to the United States in April 2019?  While in the US the CETU head met with the American Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organisations’ (AFL-CIO – SEE >>) Solidarity Centre (SEE >>).  Also in April - a delegation of Ethiopian trade unionists also underwent a three-day training on "Organising" in Hartford, Connecticut conducted by the AFL-CIO Organising Institute.  A fact worth recognising is that the AFL-CIO's Executive Vice President (i.e. its Number 2.) is Tefere Gebre (SEE BIO >>) – he was born in Ethiopia!  When he was 14 years old, Gebre escaped war-torn Ethiopia, walking for weeks to Sudan.  He lived in a Sudanese refugee camp until he was 15, when he was granted political refuge status and arrived in Los Angeles alone!
------------------------------------------


KENYA – TEXTILE & APPAREL UNIONS MEET TO DISCUSS AGOA,  19 April 2019
On 19 April 2019, the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Centre convened a meeting which considered the US’s African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA).  Several African trade unions that recruit workers in the textile and apparel industry attended the Kenyan workshop.

Comment
I wonder what the ultimate purpose of this workshop was?  Could it be that the AFL-CIO is preparing to make an input into the United States’ government’s annual review of the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive AGOA benefits?

The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee develops recommendations on country eligibility for AGOA based on a public engagement process and its own research.  These recommendations are then submitted to the US President who takes the final decision.  The US President may designate a country as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country eligible for AGOA benefits if he determines that the country meets the eligibility criteria outlined in section 104 and 502 of the AGOA law.  Section 104 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.

Perhaps the AFL-CIO is now engaging in a consultative exercise with African trade unions looking at the worker rights issues that they want to raise in the 2019 AGOA review process?  Recently the east and southern African head of the Solidarity Centre visited the head offices of a number of African textile and apparel trade unions.

In 2017 the Solidarity Centre managed to annoy the eSwatini (neè Swaziland) textile and apparel union when it was found out that they appealed to the US government not to restore eSwatini’s AGOA trade privileges in the early stages of the AGOA country eligibility review process.  The problem with the Solidarity Center’s approach was that they did not consult with eSwatini unions.  The eSwatini union was enraged (SEE >>).  The Solidarity Centre retreated silently.  eSwatini eventually got its AGOA status back!

It’s also interesting to note that the Head of the IndustriAll trade union federation was also recently on a Southern Africa whirlwind tour – on his travels he also met with several textile and apparel trade unions in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini.


ESWATINI – UNION ISSUES,  18 April 2019
“The Amalgamated Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA) is fighting against the victimisation of its members.  For instance, a factory at Fashion International at Matsapha is known to demote union leaders or threaten those that join the union.  ATUSWA also faces the legal threats of being banned or deregistered.”  READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA – CUSTOMS BUSTS,  18 April 2019
The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has released its latest consolidated customs busts statistics for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

The total value of all goods confiscated by SARS amounted to R3,694,742,928 (US$262.8m).  Some of the statistics include:
  • Narcotics:  892 busts valued at R535,132,535 (US$38m)
  • Cigarettes:  220 busts valued at R50,252,520 (US$3.57m)
  • CITES (including endangered species such as abalone): 43 busts valued at R 42,224,372 (US$3m)
  • Currency:  14 busts valued at R64,986,630 (US$4.6m)
  • Viagra / Viagra Generics: 170 busts valued at R69,280,100 (US$4.9m)
  • Counterfeit clothing, footwear and other goods:  1,526 busts valued at R2,710,118,775 (US$192.7)
  • Clothing and Textiles (second hand and other infringements):  407 busts valued at R7,988,166 (US$568k)
  • Alcohol:  298 busts valued at R18,430,752 (US$1.3m).
Source: SARS Press Statement

Comment
SARS always has a hard-on for viagra (and rhino horn) smugglers; but when it comes to textiles and apparel smuggling they are ... well ... limp.

On the headings:
  • Counterfeit clothing, footwear and other goods” – my view is that SARS is trying too hard to bump up their claimed haul of clothing and textiles by including this heading.  They would be more honest if they just used the term “counterfeit goods”.  SARS has previously confirmed that the term “other goods” includes products such as “wrist-watches, cell phone accessories, caps, hats, jewellery, sunglasses, and DVDs”.  For the 2017/18 SARS confirmed that only 19.5% of all the counterfeit goods detained were clothing and footwear.  It’s also worth remembering that values attributable to counterfeit clothing could be high – a rip-off Versace dress may have a price tag of R15,000 (US$1,066) – and that’s what SARS will claim as the value of intercepted goods.
  • Clothing and Textiles (second hand and other infringements)” - this year SARS claimed 407 busts and goods seized being worth R7,988,166 (i.e. an average of R19,226.94 (US$1,367.52) per interception) – for 2017/18 they claimed 51 busts valued at R76,860,835 (US$5.46m), i.e. an average of R1,507,075 (US107k) per interception).  They either got lucky in the period 2017/18  (SEE >>) – or for the last reporting period - customs dumbed down even further!
SARS continues with its smoke and mirrors and spin.  Apparently, there is a new team in SARS’ customs division that is responsible for textiles/apparel/footwear.  Many took up office in about October 2018.  I know that many value chain stakeholders are hopeful that this new team will be able to do something positive – I hear many stories of huge numbers of containers of value chain goods being detained. Many organisations like to boast about their successes – and SARS is not an exception.  However, SARS is not bragging about their textile/apparel/footwear interventions, so this makes me wonder.  In my view, the revenue target driven SARS is most probably spending more time looking at the smuggling of tobacco than it is trying to catch textile and apparel smugglers.

If SARS wants to make any progress in stopping textile and apparel smuggling, it must develop specialist in-house textile and apparel capacity.  It cannot rely on anecdotal views and information from some Department of Trade & Industry staff; nor from busy textile and apparel manufacturing executives; or even a couple of overworked (and underpaid) trade union officials who often get their information from factory owners.


SOUTH AFRICA – CLOTHING MINIMUM WAGES TO APPLY TO BOGUS CO-OPERATIVES,  18 April 2019
The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has welcomed the long-awaited publication of the Regulations for the Cooperatives Amendment Act of 2013.  According to SACTWU, this completes the legislative tasks required to give full effect to the amendments to the Act - that came into operation on 1 April 2019.  SACTWU believes that workers and their unions now have the tools to bring the full might of the law down on the wicked scourge of bogus cooperatives plaguing tens of thousands of workers across the country.  SACTWU has calculated that in the clothing industry that there are about 15,000 workers engaged in bogus cooperatives.

According to SACTWU: "Bogus cooperatives are simply an excuse to profit off the back of exploited workers.  They are established when factory owners threaten their regular employees with retrenchment unless the workers migrate into a so-called cooperative and become members of those cooperatives.  The warped logic is that members of cooperatives are legally considered self-employed and up until now have been exempted from minimum wages and labour standards.  Nefarious employers have seen this as an opportunity to cut wages, and so workers in bogus cooperatives lose money and benefits."

SACTWU continues: "But it gets worse - these cooperatives remain under the control of the original factory owner who also takes all decisions around the working hours and conditions of workers, the nature of their work, and if workers raise concerns about anything, they are simply disciplined and fired on the spot by the former factory owner, or by their proxies in the cooperative.  Bogus cooperatives are a stinking cesspit of labour and human rights abuses, and we are even aware of bogus cooperatives in which human trafficking has been reported to occur."

SACTWU thanked the ANC government, the Minister of Small Business Development, as well as President Ramaphosa, for guiding this new legislation along its last stretch home.  READ HERE >>

Comment
It’s interesting that SACTWU congratulates the ANC government and the ANC Minister – when in fact it was this grouping that blocked / delayed the gazetting of the regulations which would have stopped bogus co-operatives from continuing to operate.  In fact, if the ANC government and the ANC Minister had acted sooner as many of 15,000 workers could have had more decent wages and conditions of employment from about 2013 onwards!   Instead, workers have waited five years and eight months!  It's outrageous!

Over the next couple of weeks, an analysis will be made of the regulations to see whether they will be able to stop workers from being categorised as co-operative members – for there are some sceptics out there.

The wages and terms and conditions of employment agreements for South Africa’s garment industry can be  SEEN HERE >>.  The Co-operatives Amendment Act (Act No. 6 of 2 August 2013) can be SEEN HERE >>; the Act’s regulations may be  SEEN HERE >> and the Presidential Proclamation activating the law with effect from 1 April 2019 can be  SEEN HERE >>.

In November 2018 a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament asked the Minister for Small Business Development why had her department not implemented the Cooperatives Amendment Act (Act 6 of 2013).  The long-winded parliamentary excuse of the Minister can be  READ HERE >>.



SOUTH AFRICA – H&M’s SUSTAINABLE FASHION AFRICA SUMMIT,  24 April 2019
According to H&M:  “The Summit will put the spotlight on sustainability in fashion in Africa with strategic input and learnings shared by thought leaders, changemakers and creatives in sustainability, design and fashion from the continent and H&M Global.

"The Summit comes at a strategic time as the world becomes increasingly inspired and intrigued by Africa.  [On 16 April 2019] H&M announced its first-ever collaboration with an African designer, our very own Palesa Mokubung’s Mantsho label, which will be available in all South African stores as well as exclusive flagship stores around the world and all H&M online markets, from 15 August 2019.

“Join host, award-winning actress and cultural activist, Sthandiwe Kgoroge and esteemed panellists Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa; Neeshan Balton of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation; diversity advocate and international model, Thando Hopa and Mantsho head of design, Palesa Mokubung herself amongst others as we discuss ethical and sustainable fashion within the context of Africa.
"
Source: Invitation sent out by Destinate (SEE >>)

Comment
Vomit!  I know I am a cynical kind of person - but I like to think that I have an in-built cr#@$!p detector.  To me, this looks like a sugar-coated PR exercise – all wrapped-up in the cuddly cloak of “sustainability”.

So how did H&M get here?  H&M published (in January 2018) a racist t-shirt advert (“coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie) in South Africa.  There was loads of bad publicity.  H&M acknowledged that the advert was insensitive.  H&M then issues a mea culpa.  It's South African staff undergo inclusion and diversity training.  They announce they will start buying goods made in South Africa.  There is applause!

Then an H&M senior staff member (Country Manager Ethiopia and Continental Representative Africa) visits South Africa – he is taken on a safari to a number of plants that can potentially make product for the retail giant.  South Africans are hopeful – H&M will bring much-needed manufacturing jobs to South Africa; the politicians that put the squeeze on H&M think they have a victory.  South Africans are an optimistic bunch!

In early 2019 H&M states that “Proudly made in South Africa" is something H&M endeavours to support.  They say they will recruit a “Supply Chain Specialist” that can initiate and drive the test processes of local sourcing.  Even though it’s a “test” and the person will only be on a 12-18 months assignment.  I speak to folk … they quiver with anticipation – H&M is showered in glory.  There is more applause!

Then boom!!!!!  The next level.  H&M announces they will work with a South African fashion designer – who will design product with a South African aesthetic - that will be sold in all of H&M’s South African stores as well as exclusive H&M flagship stores around the world, and all H&M online markets from about August 2019 onwards.  While the South African media gushes; but I start to hear some sceptical voices - not loud - but certainly sceptical.

So where will these South African aesthetic designer garments be made?  Apparently, H&M may be looking at a couple of South African plants.  It's unclear as to what volumes will be made; and whether there will be repeat orders.  I guess that H&M will use imported fabrics – who can blame them on this … for as we know, there are not much garment suitable fabrics made in South Africa (I can already hear South Africa’s knit fabric manufacturers whining – “we can make excellent fabrics”).

Nonetheless, the H&M mea culpa project continues – now we read there is going to be an H&M “sustainable fashion Africa summit” to be held in Johannesburg on 24 April.  No doubt the fashionista of Johannesburg will be there in abundance.  I guess after the event there will be more publicity – H&M will be well on the road to salvation!  But I hear even more suspicious murmurings.

So, what is H&M’s view of sustainability?  Is it about saving the planet?  Is it about the wages and working conditions of the workers that make garments for them?  Is it about Africa?  Is it about making African fashion sustainable?  Is it about creating sustainable jobs in the South African manufacturing industry by H&M giving them constant orders?  Or, is it about puffing up the name of H&M … and garnering more applause?

Some H&M big guns will be at the Johannesburg event.  Unfortunately, the trade union howitzers who may be able to deconstruct the H&M narrative will most probably be in Durban (along with many industry representatives) on the day of the H&M Summit … because the industry Masterplan will be in the process of being wrapped-up.  I wonder if there will be any critical voices at the Summit ... and if they are critical ... how critical will they be?

Unfortunately few of the attendees may have read the recent Ethiopia report (see above) by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in which PVH features prominently; furthermore how many may have read the Ethiopian report of the Wage Indicator Foundation (see the "African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor", Vol. 2 No. 6 of 12 March 2019) which covered the typical wages paid to Ethiopian garment workers.

If I lived in Jozi, I would go to their event and would ask some questions about Ethiopia and its garment factories. 

However, I am not in Jozi so readers of this blog / newsletter will have to read about me checking in with H&M South Africa from time to time to find out their sourcing plans.  I guess if you asked me what my single most important question for H&M it would be:  "SHOW ME THE SOUTH AFRICAN MANUFACTURING JOBS H&M?"


ETHIOPIA – HAWASSA INDUSTRIAL PARK GETS 23RD INVESTOR,  13 April 2019
Nasa Garment Plc has become the 23rd company to establish itself in the Hawassa Industrial Park.  The company is a US$5m is a joint venture between a local investor and a Chinese company.  Nasa Garment will be manufacturing shirts, trousers and sweaters from its factory inside the Hawassa Industrial Park from a 5,500Sqm shed. READ HERE >>


MALAWI – COTTON MARKETING SEASON OPENS,  19 April 2019
The country’s cotton markets have opened, with the crop trading at a minimum of K370 (US$0.51) per kilogramme.  The minimum price was arrived at following thorough consultations with stakeholders.  The markets are expected to run for 90 days.  READ HERE >>


TANZANIA – WORN UNDERWEAR SEIZED,  18 April 2019
Inspectors from the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) initiated a crackdown against the sale of worn inner garments.  The TBS has, since 2009, launched a crackdown on second-hand undergarments currently on sale in local markets.  The crackdown follows Tanzania’s decision of outlawing secondhand underwear for health­ related reasons.  Some of the clothes that were seized during the raid include worn towels, underwear, brassiere and socks.  The TBS burned the seized bales of clothing.  READ HERE >>


NIGERIA – MINIMUM WAGE LEGISLATION BECOMES LAW,  18 April 2019
The Nigerian President has signed into law the new monthly minimum wage of N30,000 (US$83).  Instead of the 1 May 2019 implementation date sought by the workers, the President said that it became effective from 18 April 2019.  The law covers all organisations in the public and private sectors, which have more than 25 persons on their payroll.  READ HERE >>


KENYA - DROUGHT,  17 April 2019
The dry weather witnessed in the long rains season from March to May will be the worst in 38 years, worsening food shortages and water scarcity.  The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) says the rains have already failed and even if it rains now, farmers will not make any meaningful return from their farms because the planting season is already over.  READ HERE >>

Comment
This cannot be good for Kenya’s plans to start growing cotton on a significant scale.  Last week this blog/newsletter reported on Ugandan fears of crop failures due to a lack of rain.


UGANDA - ANOTHER SILK PROJECT,  13 April 2019
The company which was established by an Iranian investor is dealing in silkworm rearing which the investor says it will fetch the country billions within a few years.  READ HERE >>

Comment
Billions!  Apparently!  How many silk projects can there be in Uganda?  This is certainly not the first. 


MALI - COTTON PRODUCTION,  21 APRIL 2019
"For each hectare, we invest more than CFA francs 100,000 (US$939), and after the harvest, we can recoup that investment and have CFA francs 150,000 (US$1,408) in profit," said the owner of the field.  READ HERE >>
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RESEARCH

Women in Manufacturing in Ethiopia: Opportunities, Challenges and Strategic Interventions”. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  December 2018.
Synopsis: This study was intended to assist in developing a better understanding of critical gender issues in the manufacturing sector at various levels of value chains in priority sub-sectors in the manufacturing industry to be able to devise possible interventions.  Specifically, this study hoped to uncover the existing situation, outlook and emerging challenges, including current assumptions, cultural attitudes and prejudices regarding women’s participation and leadership in manufacturing; it was also aimed at helping us develop a knowledge base and information framework that increases understanding to improve women’s participation and benefits.  The full paper can be  READ HERE >>.


Market Entry Constraints for African Cotton”.  Communication from the International Trade Centre (ITC) – by Matthias Knappe, ITC Senior Officer and Programme Manager, Fibres, Textiles & Clothing.
Synopsis:  Sub-Saharan African (SSA) cotton is usually sold out, of which 86% is exported.  Hence, there have been no difficulties in selling it.  That being said, there could be improvements made to market and brand it more effectively.  That could influence market penetration, prices and engagement in long-term client (spinner) relationships that are presently missing but necessary to attract foreign investment in fibre value addition.  The paper identifies a number of identified obstacles that hinder a more effective market entry for African cotton as well as recommendations to overcome them.  The full paper can be READ HERE >>  and a related powerpoint presentation can be  SEEN HERE >>.
DATA

TOP 15 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN EXPORTERS
OF APPAREL (HS61 & 62) TO THE UNITED STATES

(2018; YEAR-TO-DATE 2018 COMPARED WITH YEAR-TO-DATE 2019)
Some Comments & Observations

 Malawi's Exports
For the period January and February 2019 Malawi has mainly exported garments to the US under the following HS codes:  HS611030 - "sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, vests and similar articles of manmade fibers, knitted or crocheted" worth US$406,616; and, HS610463 - "women's or girls' trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts of synthetic fibers, knitted or crocheted" worth US$27,886.  

Malawi’s exports of garments to the US have been: in 2016 worth US$6,276,855, in 2016 US$1,563,657, in 2017 US$322,679 and, in 2018, US$859,832.   These garments must be made by WinWin Garments which is located in Blantyre – and their exports are being routed via the South African port of Durban to New York/Newark. 

This is a remarkable transaction considering that the fabrics and trims are most probably importd via the port of Durban (a distance of about 2,300km) or via Mozambique's port of Beira (700km away).  Its exports go through the port of Durban.
UPCOMING EVENTS
SO WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE
AFRICAN COTTON & TEXTILE INDUSTRIES FEDERATION
(ACTIF)
"ORIGIN AFRICA" (SEE >>) TRADE SHOW AS NO DATES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED?

 
  • Global Supply Chain Labour Challenges - Ethiopia & Bangladesh - Workshop - 14 May 2019.  Copenhagen, Denmark.   The "NYU Stern Center for Business & Human Rights" will examine global supply chain labour challenges facing garment brands sourcing in emerging markets, with a particular focus on Bangladesh and Ethiopia.  The panel will draw on the original research that has been undertaken over the last five years by the Center.  It will address the broader political and social content in these countries and the associated risk to global brands.  It will also focus on best practices relating to purchasing practices, factory safety issues, managing sub-contracting relationships and other topical issues and explore lessons learned in Bangladesh and how these lessons can be applied in frontier markets like Ethiopia. Register by contacting:  vanderso@stern.nyu.edu
  • Source Africa - Trade Show - 12-14 June 2019.  Cape Town, South Africa.  For more information:  www.sourceafrica.co.za
  • Premiertex Africa 2019 - Trade Show - 18-20 June 2019.  Nairobi, Kenya.  For more information:  www.premiertex-africa.com
  • Destination Africa - Trade Show - 9-11 November 2019.  Cairo, Egypt.  For more information:  www.destination-africa.org
  • Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week (ASFW) - Trade Show - 9-12 November 2019.  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  For more information:  www.asfw-online.com
  • International Textile Machinery Exhibition - Africa - Trade Show - 14-16 February 2020.  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  For more information:  www.itme-africa.com
CLASSIFIEDS
JOBS, TENDERS & PROCUREMENT
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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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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