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EAC textile sector to start making garments using low level technology

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-10-20 10:00:00 – Africa

East African Community (EAC) countries – Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, as they are preparing to phase-out imported second hand clothes by 2018 to support industrialization and job creation in the region, the textile industry players have been challenged to take up garment manufacturing that requires low level technology and skills.

It is a high time that EAC countries embarked on manufacturing apparels such as inner garments, ties, scarfs that require low level technology and skills as the region works on a phase out approach of imported second hand clothes, said Lilian Awinja, the Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC).

The textile sector can manufacture apparels such as inner garments, ties, scarfs that require low level technology and skills.

Awinja was speaking ahead of the second East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition scheduled for November 14 to 16 in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

The event is meant to provide a platform to create synergies and linkages between the local cotton and textile industries with local suppliers and the fashion and design industry. The meeting is also expected to devise an action plan outlining the policies and modalities to promote the sector performance, productivity and quality, according to a statement from organisers.

According to EABC, cotton production, processing and trade is highly influenced by policies of major producing countries through price support, tariff protection, production subsidies and stock piling that destabilize cotton prices.

The region’s cotton industry also faces huge challenges, including low yields, low ginning out-turn ratio and inefficient value addition, which affect its competitiveness, the apex body of private sector and corporate firms in bloc added.

Awinja said that the textile industry needs to innovate and embrace value addition to produce aesthetic accessories, interior designs and fashion and hence create more job opportunities in the EAC.

She challenged regional sector players and governments to put in place programmes that will help reverse the trend, saying the lint should work as “a raw material base for textile and apparel manufacturing in the region”. Also the African fashion and design industry will have a huge opportunity “to be in the limelight on the international market”.

Hence, at the upcoming regional business and entrepreneurship conference and exhibition will also feature fashion show for designers and firms to showcase the creations and forge market ties. It will also act as a platform to encourage East Africans to consume products made in the region, a move organisers say is crucial to strengthen local value chains.

Key fashion and textiles industry players, including Sunny Dolat from HEVA Fund, are expected to discuss ways of building synergies between cotton growers and the textile industry, and the untapped market opportunities in the region.

The event will also host a “Start-up Corner” to boost entrepreneurship and attract investments in the East Africa region.

During the conference, there will also be discussions on information communication technology, urbanisation, cotton and textile, patents and copyrights in the creative industry, trade and gender, health, agri-business, and e-commerce.

According to the organizers, exhibition will give participants big opportunities to network and forge partnerships with other organisations and businesses, while the East African Diaspora will be engaged to increase investment into the region.

According to the EABC official only 15 percent of EAC cotton is processed locally, while 85 percent is exported in form of lint to other countries.

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