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LOGO OF THE
NEWS & RESEARCH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
(#33 / 2018 - 6 November 2018)
www.africantextilesandapparel.com
As at the end of August 2018 there were 39,446 tons of seed cotton and 4,988 tons of cotton lint in stock at South African cotton ginners
South African cotton ginners produced 3,830 tons of cotton lint in August 2018 and sold 2,761 tons of cotton lint
South African cotton spinners consumed 1,771 tons of cotton lint in August 2018, down 13% from August 2017 (mainly due to the closure of the Spintex mill in Swaziland
NEWS

KENYA – DOMESTIC APPAREL SALES BY EPZ FIRMS CAUSE PROBLEMS, 21 October 2018
A turf war has erupted among Kenyan garment manufacturers barely two months after the Kenyan Treasury granted an extension allowing the sale of subsidised garments in the local market. The battle, pitting 48 apparel manufacturers against 17 of their competitors who are registered under the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) legislative framework, follows the recent measures seen to favour the latter. At the start of this financial year, Kenya successfully lobbied its partners in the East African Community for extension of an offer which allows EPZ firms to offload 20% of their annual production duty-and-VAT free in the domestic market. EPZ based manufacturers employ 52,000 people while the local sector directly employs about 21,000 people in formal sector and more than 30,000 informally, according to the lobby. READ HERE >>


GHANA – DEDICATED PORTS OF ENTRY FOR TEXTILES, 1 November 2018
Traders of textile products in Accra have raised concerns about the government’s decision to designate the Tema Port as the only entry point for all imported textile products. The traders argued that the new measure would kick traders who import small quantities through the Aflao border out of business. “This decision does not favour us at all. Some of us do not have the capital to import a container full of textile products and so we go through the Aflao border to Togo and purchase the 100 or 200 pieces we can afford to run our business. In bringing it to Ghana, we pay the required duties at the border. Introducing a singular entry point will collapse our business,” said one trader. READ HERE >>

Comment - A South African Angle
Dedicated ports of entry have the potential to focus the anti-smuggling efforts of customs officials. However, they can be implemented stupidly and are merely measures to significantly impede legitimate trade. Currently a team of South African government appointed consultants is looking at stitching together a strategy (called the “Masterplan”) to develop the country’s textile and apparel (and footwear) manufacturing industry. One of the proposals the consultants have come up with are dedicated ports of entry for textiles / apparel / footwear. On the face of it it all seems rather sensible … but then one gets to the detail of their proposal.

The Masterplan consultants state:
“[It is r]ecommended that South Africa follow the Indonesian model - CTFL [clothing/textile/footwear/leather] imports to be restricted to four points of entry into South Africa: i) Durban seaport, ii) Port Elizabeth seaport, iii) Cape Town seaport; and, iv) OR Tambo International airport. All imports entering South Africa (including via land border posts) to be cleared in one of these four ports of entry only."

The problem is – how will manufacturers in Lesotho, eSwatini (Swaziland) and Botswana – all members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) clear their textile / apparel / footwear goods into South Africa? Will they be required to transport them all the way to the specified ports mentioned in order to clear goods that are destined for South Africa? The proposal is silly; and has clearly not been well thought through! Imagine how South African retailers would react if they were told that the only way their clothing and footwear products could enter Namibia would be via the port of Walvis Bay?; or could enter Swaziland only through the Piggs Peak border post?. Hopefully South Africa’s government
will reject the proposal. Dedicated ports of entry "Yes" - but a rational approach is required.
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SOUTH AFRICA – SCHOOL UNIFORM SUPPLIERS, 24 October 2018
The Competition Commission has forwarded four settlement agreements to the Competition Tribunal involving four private schools. The agreements aim to reduce the prices of school uniforms for those schools. In these proposed settlement agreements St Andrew’s School for Girls, AdvTech Ltd, Curro Holdings Ltd and Inspired Schools agree to seek ways in which their school uniforms can be standardised in order to enable parents to buy certain parts of the uniform from general retailers. The schools also commit, in the settlement agreements, to contract school uniform suppliers through a transparent and competitive bidding process.

These measures are aimed at improving competition in the market for the supply of school uniforms thus reducing school uniform prices.

The settlement agreements come after the Commission initiated complaints against a number of schools, school uniform manufacturers and school uniform suppliers alleging that the exclusive supply agreements between schools, manufacturers and suppliers allowed manufacturers and suppliers to extract higher prices than they would in a competitive environment. The Commission’s investigation culminated in these settlement agreements which still have to be ratified by the Competition Tribunal.

Source: Press release of the Competition Tribunal – 24 October 2018

Comment
In mid-July 2018 the “African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor” forwarded the following questions/request to South Africa’s Competition Commission: "In January 2017 the Competition Commission announced it was launching an investigation into the school uniforms market. In January 2018 there were media reports that the investigation would soon be finalised and the outcome made public. Has this investigation been finalised? If so kindly forward me a copy. If the investigation has not been finalised why is this the case? When does the Commission anticipate that this matter will be finalised? Kindly also forward the investigation's terms of reference."

The Competition Commission response to the questions submitted: “The investigation is virtually done - we are tying the very last strings and a public announcement should be made soon.”

Three months later no public announcement has been made!


MALI – COTTON PRODUCTION UP, 29 October 2018
Owing to better than expected rainfall Mali is on track to harvest a record 2018/19 cotton crop of 750,000 tonnes, the head of the Chamber of Agriculture (APCAM) said. It was an increase of 2.7% on the roughly 730,000 tonnes produced last season, making it now Africa’s first-biggest cotton producer, as Burkina Faso has seen declines linked to problems with genetically modified crops. READ HERE >>


EGYPT - COTTON SECTOR WOES, 29 October 2018
Representatives of farmers and traders expressed their anger at the policies adopted by the state, and its way of dealing with the agriculture sector, during a conference entitled ‘200 Years of Egyptian Cotton’. The farmers believe that the cotton crop, in particular, suffered from a marketing crisis during the current year, which forced the Ministry of Agriculture to secure funding from seven banks to purchase the crop yield at 12% interest. The chairperson of the Central Agricultural Cooperative Union, said that the government did not deal with the soaring costs of production in the agricultural sector, nor did it take into consideration the implementation of the amendments of Agriculture Law approved by the President in 2015. “The government made a mistake in demanding an increase in agriculture areas, before finding a consumer market, especially as Egyptian spinning factories refuse to deal with Egyptian cotton.” READ HERE >>


KENYA – NEW SCHOOLWEAR FACTORY, 29 October 2018
Kitui County has scored a first in the country after it launched a state-of-art garment factory that will manufacture school uniforms and other fabrics for local and export market. The factory — situated at Syongila market, about 4km from Kitui town along the Kitui-Nairobi highway — is modeled on the Export Processing Zone garment industrial unit, where it will run 24 hours in shifts. READ HERE >>

Comment
Apparently!


ETHIOPIA – SME ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT, 30 October 2018
With a view to sustaining the ongoing development, the Ethiopian government is set to establish 7,800 small and medium scale manufacturing industries. Metal and wood work, textile and garment, leather and leather products, agro processing, and construction inputs are some of the industries which are planned to be set up by the government. According to the Small & Medium Manufacturing Industries Development Agency, the government’s move to plant new manufacturing industries and strengthen the existing ones is part of its endeavor towards bringing about structural transformation. The agency’s policy planning and project management head said the new industries were expected to employ 195,000 people. A total of ETH-B14.7bn (US$523m) is needed to establish the new industries and strengthen the existing industries. READ HERE >>


ZIMBABWE – TEXTILE PLANT REVIVAL HELD UP – 26 October 2018
Squabbles between shareholders and judicial manager of struggling Bulawayo textile manufacturer, Merlin, are stalling the disbursement of a US$5m recapitalisation facility secured from the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (Zamco). Merlin was once among the largest textile companies in the country, with over 2,000 employees. The company survived liquidation nearly two decades ago and was placed under judicial management for a third time in December 2011. It suspended production in October 2010 to minimise losses when capacity utilisation fell to a lowly 20%. At full capacity, the plant at Merlin had potential to process 120 tonnes of lint per month. READ HERE >>


ZIMBABWE – APPAREL INDUSTRY EXPANSION PLANS, 23 October 2018
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association (ZCMA) is targeting to employ 35,000 people in the next five years largely driven by resuscitation of companies in the sector, and the promotion of value addition. Briefing Industry & Commerce Deputy Minister on a tour of Archer Clothing Manufacturers in Bulawayo, the chair of the ZCMA, who is also the managing director of Archer Clothing said: “Our plan within five years is to get to 35,000 employees, the clothing industry currently employs around 6,700 people. Raw materials are a problem and that will take time, nobody is going to invest in the textile industry here until we have got a ready market to deliver because the days of exporting to England and America are all gone,” he said. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA - TRUWORTHS TRADING RESULTS, 24 October 2018
Truworths International Limited (SEE >>) announced that its retail sales for the first 16 trading weeks (2 July 2018 to 21 October 2018) of the 2019 financial period increased by 4.5% to R5.3bn (US$362m) compared to R5.1bn (US$355m) for the first 16 trading weeks (3 July 2017 to 22 October 2017) of the 2018 financial period. Trading space increased by 1.9% on the prior period and is expected to increase between 2% and 3% for the full 2019 financial period. Comparable product deflation (i.e. excluding "Loads of Living" acquired in October 2017) averaged 1.1% for the current period.

Although the trading environment is expected to remain challenging, the Group will continue to utilise its extensive experience to manage the risk of fashion through its proven merchandise design and buying processes and manage the risk of the book through continuing to apply strategies to ensure the on-going health of the portfolio. READ HERE >>


TUNISIA – TEXTILE TESTING LAB UPGRADE, 25 October 2018
SGS the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company has completed a major expansion of its textile testing facilities in Tunis, Tunisia. SGS carried out the expansion of its facilities, situated in the heart of Tunisia’s industrial zone, during 2018 in response to growing customer demand. Its textile laboratory is ISO 17025 accredited and CPSC approved and, since 2009, SGS has been serving the needs of Tunisia’s domestic clients as well as providing international services for clients from across the globe. READ HERE >>


KENYA - PRESIDENTIAL NOD TO GROW Bt COTTON, 21 October 2018
In the 1980s and 1990s, Kenya’s cotton industry was thriving with commercial and small scale production in Western, Nyanza, Eastern and Coastal regions relying on the crop for income generation. However, years of neglect and introduction of second hand clothes led to the collapse of both cotton ginneries as well as textile manufactures, crumbling the sector. Now the industry has got a relief from the highest office in the land. During Heroes day, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered several ministries to explore the possibilities of introducing cotton genetically engineered cotton. READ HERE >> and READ HERE >>


KENYA - LOW RETURNS HURT COTTON FARMING, 22 October 2018
Kenya has been losing at least 4,210 cotton farmers every year for the last 38 years due to low returns and importation of cheaper ready fabric from China and India. This translates to 160,000 farmers or 80% of the estimated 200,000 farmers who practiced cotton farming in the mid 1980s when the industry was at its peak.

According to the "Manufacturing Sector Deep Drive" report (SEE >>) the exodus has seen Kenya become a net importer of cotton as the current home production cannot satisfy the demand. As at January 2018 the Fibre Crops Directorate under the Ministry of Agriculture reported that cotton farmers were producing about 30,000 bales against 368,000 bales of lint. However, the report states that the average annual lint production stood at only about 20,000 bales as at June 2018. This is 71.42% decrease compared to 1984 when 70,000 bales of lint were recorded. The low production has seen a decrease in ginneries from the registered 24 to only about 10 due to the low production of lint. The ginneries have an installed capacity of approximately 140,000 bales annually, but the utilised capacity is a meagre 20,000 bales. In addition only 15 of the 52 integrated textile mills devoted to yarn and fabric production are operational, operating at 40-50% of the installed capacity. READ HERE >>


SOUTH AFRICA / LESOTHO – IS BANNING MOHAIR THE ANSWER, 19 October 2018
Some of the world’s biggest brands declared mohair—the long, glossy fiber Angora goats are bred for—immediately verboten. H&M said it would “permanently ban” mohair by 2020. The Arcadia Group, which operates Topshop, affirmed that it would no longer source any new goods containing the fiber, while Gap Inc. signaled that its Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy brands would eschew mohair starting next year; while Inditex, which owns Zara, said it would phrase-out the material by 2020 because it “deplores the cruel practices uncovered by PETA.” Like falling dominoes, others soon made similar pronouncements. To date, more than 320 companies have ejected or will eject mohair from their product lines. It’s a move that has echoes of 2013’s Angora rabbit fur backlash, which also stemmed—not so coincidentally—from undercover video from PETA. READ HERE >>
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DONORS & PROJECTS

ETHIOPIA – ILO SEEKS HEAD OF TEXTILES AND APPAREL PROGRAMME, 15 October 2018
The ILO will implement a comprehensive sectoral intervention to advance decent work and inclusive industrialisation in Ethiopia – the “ILO Apparel & Textiles Programme”. According to the ILO a commitment to the textile and garment sector is part of Ethiopia’s broad Industrial Development Strategic Plan (2013-2025) to propel the country to middle-income status over the next decade. Ethiopia has a nascent garment sector poised for rapid growth. While the sector represents opportunities for business, industrialisation, job creation and inclusive economic growth, a concerted effort from various actors is required to realise this potential. Through coordinated interventions at factory, sectoral and national level, this project aims to improve worker wellbeing and achieve higher industry productivity and competitiveness. It provides an opportunity to promote and inculcate a culture of prevention and protection in the industry from its inception, while assisting the government, social partners and other major stakeholders in their efforts to develop social dialogue within and between the parties, and to improve wages and working conditions through sharing productivity gains, and promoting sound labour relations practices, and collective bargaining. READ HERE >>

Comment

Its interesting to see that there is no mention of having a system of industry wide minimum wages regulated by government. Clearly Ethiopia is not going to go this route - instead improvement to wages and working conditions will be undertaken via sharing productivity gains, and industry collective bargaining. To me this seems rational - but how equipped are Ethiopian trade unions to take up this responsibility. The odd seminar from the IndustriALL global trade union federation is not going to help them that much. I suspect that workers in Ethiopia's textile / apparel / footwear manufacturing sector will most probably take matters into their own hands - over the next few years it is likely that there will be many unprocedural work stoppages. And, as wages are so low, not only will their be strikes, but there will continue to be extremely low productivity coming from factories. I guess management will realise this and many factories will attempt to move to "piece rate" based wage systems. An ingredient for a significant mess!


NORTH AFRICA – DONOR PROGRAMME TO SUPPORTS TEXTILES & CLOTHING PRODUCTION, 2 2 October 2018
The Government of Sweden and the International Trade Centre have announced a new programme aimed at strengthening the international competitiveness of textiles and clothing producers in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, which promises to boost exports, create jobs and raise incomes across the Middle East and North Africa region. The project ‘Strengthening the International Competitiveness of the Textile & Clothing Sector in selected Middle East and North African Countries’ (MENATEX), is funded with SEK42m (US$4.63m) from the Swedish government and will be implemented by the Geneva-based ITC in close collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The three-year programme is intended to support the four countries to build sustainable export-oriented sectors with increased sales to traditional markets in Europe and North America along with new markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Creating long-term and better-paid work, especially for women and young people, is a key goal of the project. Another goal will be to strengthen regional economic integration among the four countries under the Agadir Agreement, their 14-year old trade accord. READ HERE >>
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DATA

SOUTH AFRICA
COTTON LINT PRODCUTION, IMPORTS, CONSUMPTION AND EXPORTS
(in tons; eSwatini/Swaziland included)
Note: 2017/18 Estimate. 2018/19 Provisional.
Source: "Cotton South Africa". Pretoria, South Africa. November 2018. SEE LINK >>
SOUTH AFRICA
COTTON HECTARES PLANTED AND YIELD
(eSwatini / Swaziland excluded)
* estimate.
Source: "Cotton South Africa". Pretoria, South Africa. November 2018. SEE LINK >>
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PROJECT NEWS
Proposed Ethiopia Growth & Competitiveness Project
(World Bank Project Reference: P168566)
Development Objective: The intervention is structured around three strategic pillars: (i) maximising finance for development; (ii) boosting competitiveness through a better environment for the private sector; and (iii) enhancing public transparency and accountability to promote good governance. The programme supports the implementation of Ethiopia’s Second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II) 2016-2020, and it will advance Ethiopia’s strategic vision for becoming a lower-middle-income country by 2025.

Total Financing: US$1,2bn (50% grant; 50% loan)

Broad Programme Actions:
  • to maximise finance for development by:: (i) promoting public-private partnerships; (ii) improving efficiency and restoring financial sustainability in the power sector; (iii) introducing competition in the logistics sector to reduce costs and improve efficiency; and (iv) introducing competition and foreign participation in the telecom sector to improve connectivity.
  • to improve investment climate and develop financial sector by: (i) streamlining business regulations conducive to private sector development; (ii) taking actions to remove constraints to access to credit in private sector; and (iii) establishing the government bond market and foreign exchange market.
  • to enhance transparency and accountability by: (i) promoting citizen engagement and social accountability; and (ii) improving SOE management, transparency and accountability.
Full details of the proposed programme can be SEEN HERE >>.

Comment
Textile and apparel investors (both current and future) will have an interest in this project for it may impact upon their businesses. In this regard:

In the power sector Ethiopia the project aims to achieve full cost recovery by 2021. According to the World Bank Ethiopia’s current electricity tariff is among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and has remained nominally constant over the past decade at around 0.03US$/kWh. Operational performance, with system losses at 23% and collection rate at 85-90%, lags international benchmarks and demonstrates significant scope for revenue enhancement (Project Document pg19). Does this mean Ethiopia’s electricity costs will be going up? The current industrialists will not be thrilled with news of this. Of course its possible that they may be thrilled with the fact that perhaps they could have an uninterrupted supply of “quality” electricity.

The World Bank believes that inefficiencies in Ethiopian trade logistics represent a major challenge to Ethiopia’s external competitiveness. According to the Bank the cost of shipping a 20-foot container to Germany from Ethiopia is 247% higher than those of Vietnam and 72% higher than those of Bangladesh. Ethiopia was ranked 167 out of 190 economies on “Trading Across Borders” indicator in the “World Bank Doing Business in 2018” report and 126 out 160 in the “World Bank 2016 Logistics Performance Index”. The Bank believes that in addition to costs, there are two growing pressures that Ethiopia must contend with in relation to logistics: first, the demand for freight and logistics grows at a faster rate than the economy. As such and given the GDP growth rate, demand can be expected to double in less than 10 years. Second, as Ethiopia increasingly participates in global value chains, it is important that the logistics sector be dynamic and responsive to avoid being trapped in the low value segments of the value chains.

According to the World Bank this project funding aims to reduce the number of days to clear an import by customs from a 2018 baseline of 13.5 days to 10 days in 2021. In addition, the Bank aims to reduce the number of days it takes to clear export by customs from 5.5 days (a 2018 baseline) to 4 days by 2021.
RESEARCH

Senegal: Cotton and Products Update". US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Washington, D.C., United States. October 2018.

Synopsis: The post forecasts Marketing Year (MY) 2018/19 (August to July) area for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Senegal at 1.71m hectares, a 0.9% increase from the previous year due mainly to reported area increases in Mali. MY 2018/19 total cotton production for all the aforementioned countries is forecast 11.4% higher than the previous year at 3m 480 lb. bales on expectations of strong prices, good weather and better pest management. MY 2018/19 total exports are expected to increase 10% from the previous year on higher exportable supplies and strong international demand. This update primarily focuses on providing an overview of the cotton sector in Senegal; it includes an abridged analysis for Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. To read the full paper SEE HERE >>.


The ICAC Recorder: Perspectives on Cotton Research and Ideas for Africa”. Proceedings & Recommendations of the XIV Meeting of the Southern & Eastern Africa Cotton Forum (SEACF). September 2018. Volume XXXVI, No. 3.

Synopsis: The XIV Meeting of the Southern and Eastern Africa Cotton Forum (SEACF) was held at Harare, Zimbabwe, during 4 –6 July 2018, with a theme “Global best practices for cotton yield enhancement in Africa”. Seventy-seven researchers from seven countries (Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Bangladesh and China) attended the SEACF meeting. The deliberations are neatly summarised in this publication. SEE HERE >>
UPCOMING EVENTS
  • 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
  • Intertex Tunisia - Trade Show - 4-6 April 2019. Tunis, Tunisia. For more information: www.intertextunisia.com
  • Source Africa - Trade Show - 12-14 June 2019. Cape Town, South Africa. For more information: www.sourceafrica.co.za
  • Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week (ASFW) - Trade Show - 9-12 November 2019. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more information: www.asfw-online.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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