AfDB through Fashionomics Africa moving textile and clothing value chain

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-08-23 15:00:00 – Abidjan

The African Development Bank (AfDB) through Fashiononmics, a vertitable platform aims to support the growth of the African textile and fashion sectors through a focus on building the capacities of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the textile and clothing sector, especially for women and youth.

This is a platform through which they are able to actually tap into manufacturers, into creatives, other designers that they would like to collaborate with, or even just merely fabric manufacturers that could actually assist them in the growth of their brands.

Shaldon Kopman, Designer and Creative Director of Naked Ape, a South Africa-based fashion label said that currently Fashionomics Africa has linked them to a USA-based company that will assist them in selling their luxury products online. They are ever grateful for this introduction.

Some stakeholders in the textile and clothing industry describe Fashionomics Africa a platform to tap Africa’s huge potential for fashion and highlighted how AfDB has taken the lead in promoting investments in textile and fashion sector, increasing access to finance for entrepreneurs and incubating and accelerating start-ups.

Fashionomics Africa is the only platform that takes into consideration African designers and therefore understands their economic impact on the continent. What an amazing feeling to know that they, African designers, count, said Senegalese Designer Safietou Seck.

Seck, who owns the brand 'SARAYAA' (a multi-ethnic, high-end clothing brand for women), stressed how the platform has helped to expand her network and gave her further exposure and awareness.

She called on African governments to recognize the continent's competitive and comparative advantage with the creative industries and highlighted how this could be transformed into economic benefit.

Fikirte Addis, Founder, Yefikirt Design, said that with the right training, right organization, Africa can produce a lot of the things within Africa and using a lot of the human resources that they have.

As part of its Fashionomics Africa initiative, the AfDB and other multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and World Bank, organized the first MDB working group on cultural and creative industries this year.

The two-day event was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Washington, DC, on July 13-14, and aimed to leverage the potential of the cultural and creative economy

Fashionomics Africa (the economics of fashion) is an initiative of the AfDB to increase Africa's participation in the global textile industry supply chain. The AfDB is also developing the innovative and technology-driven Fashionomics Africa platform, an online interactive marketplace for medium and small scale enterprises (MSMEs) and relevant stakeholders in the textile and fashion sectors in Africa. The goal is to enable young African textile and fashion entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses.

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB said that Africa should be exporting finished textile products, such as clothes, suits, dresses, shirts; not cotton lint.

Africa produces up to 6 percent of the world's cotton, but the continent has very few textile factories and, due to poor industrialization, much of the fabric is imported from Asia.

Regardless of its challenges, participants agree that the growth prospect of the fashion industry in Africa is promising. They want governments to foster the development of local suppliers, entrepreneurs, and regional value chains, ensure access to low-cost financing, build a more conducive business climate, buy from locally owned companies, invest in infrastructure and establish more educational institutions.

AfDB's goal is to champion the development of the sector to open up its potential for revenue and job creation, especially for women and youth. The Fashionomics platform is a wonderful opportunity for everybody who's in the fashion industry across Africa to be able to connect.

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