The Trade Hub In the News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 03:49:28 +0000 obRSS 1.8.5 The Trade Hub In the News Latest news from trade related editorials and opinion papers. Source Africa 2014: 40 entreprices mauriciennes presentent leurs produits Le chiffre d'affaires des exportations vers l'Afrique du Sud s'élève ainsi: Rs 4,5 milliards en 2011, Rs 6,2 milliards en 2012 et Rs 5,5 milliards en 2013. Afin de positionner Maurice comme un partenaire commercial

fiable vis-à-vis des Sud-africains et promouvoir les secteurs manufacturiers sur ce marché, une quarantaine d'entreprises participeront à 'Source Africa 2014', la foire annuelle du textile, de l'habillement et des chaussures qui se tiendra du 18 au 20 juin prochain à Cape Town en Afrique du Sud. Cela, à l'initiative d'Enterprise Mauritius. Source Africa 2014 est un événement commercial très attendu qui non seulement encourage les liens entre les acheteurs, manufacturiers et fournisseurs mais aide également à dynamiser l'industrie régionale.]]>
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:25:12 +0000
Lack of Knowledge on Standards Affects Experts The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has said lack of knowledge on technical standards is one of the main hurdles that affect developing economies' bid to promote export.

MBS Director General, Davlin Chokazinga, said this in Blantyre on Wednesday during the opening workshop on the operations of the National Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) enquire point and National Notification Authority (NNA)]]>
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:33:24 +0000
Source Africa 2014 As International focus shifts to Africa as a growing global player, the continent's manufactures are ready to take advantage of the growing interest at the Source Africa event. The Textile, Apparel and footwear trade event taking place in Cape Town from 18-20th June 2014 with retail heavyweights such as H&M eyeing Sub Sahara Africa for future production. The benefit of sourcing from Africa is becoming a hot topic in the international sourcing arena. Source Africa now in its second year provides a platform for African Manufactures to connect with both international and intra-regional buyers.]]> Wed, 21 May 2014 14:55:24 +0000 Jungle Beats to increase peanut butter output JUNGLE Beat Limited Zambia is expected to increase production of peanut butter to about 100,000 tonnes annually after the acquisition of new processing equipment. Company managing director Peter Nieuwoudt said Zambia should take advantage to fill the gap of reduced groundnut production in South Africa to export to that country.]]> Fri, 06 Dec 2013 05:00:21 +0000 More Firms Look to Africa Retailers and brands are looking beyond Asia, toward Africa, says Haggar's VP of Global Sourcing Tony Anzovino. His firm is opening factories in Ghana to produce slacks and other apparel items....]]> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 19:17:50 +0000 Major Trade Show: Source Africa As Africa's profile as a destination for apparel sourcing firms grows, it is more aggressively touting their commercial virtues. To this end, the continent will be hosting a major trade show designed to advertise their resources, newfound business acumen and facilitate industry networking...]]> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 19:24:16 +0000 USAID, NWK seal soyabean pact THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa Trade Hub and NWK Limited have partnered to improve soya bean production among small-scale farmers.
The out-grower support programme developed under the grant agreement with NWK will provide finance, quality inputs and improved agricultural technology to 920 smallholder and emerging commercial farmers in Zambia in the first stage of the project.
NWK managing director Danie Marais told the Hub newsletter that the partnership is part of the Southern Africa Trade Hub's effort to improve food security and agricultural competitiveness in the region.
Mr Marais said the firm plans to integrate soya beans production into the existing Dunavant Zambia Limited cotton out grower scheme.
"NWK regards the partnership as an excellent opportunity for Dunavant, an established role player in Zambia, to increase the viability of its out-growers and to grow its own business in Zambia," he said.

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 13:57:42 +0000
Africa: Next sourcing hub for textile and leather production AFRICA IS THE world's next sourcing destination was the message of the recent Source Africa trade show and seminars in Cape Town. In response to the growing demand for quality manufacturing and products, Source Africa 2013, the first African textile, apparel and footwear trade event. made its debut from 9-12 April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa.

The event brought together producers, business leaders and decision makers from across the world providing opportunities for African manufacturers to network with international buyers. Among more than 150 exhibitors were several countries, including South African kiosks, that promoted the manufacturing capabilities of their industries to the more than 1,000 registered visitors.

There is growing testament that South Africa is a future destination as a market and an interest in doing business in this pan of the world, said Steve Lamar, Executive vice-president of American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), whose members account for 75 per cent of the apparel sold in the US.]]>
Fri, 31 May 2013 16:08:49 +0000
Let’s audit the investors road map At the launch of the Investor Road Map on April 27, 2012, His Majesty also launched the national brand, which is and should be our symbol of unity and identity. One year later on the June 6, 2013, the Southern African Trade Hub (SATH) undertook an audit of work to date.

Our national brand, which is uniquely Swazi, grew from what is culturally ours – "Emagwalagwala". The national brand launch came with a tall promise, that of Swaziland being Africa's New Promise. We need to do more to live up to the promise of being a beacon of light for the continent. Ours is from a base where we can look back and see the improvements of Swaziland in a continent riddled with malaria, lack of clean water, no electricity, poor roads amongst many other pestilences. Are we where we have to be? Absolutely not? But let us recognise that we have a solid base to rise from. ]]>
Tue, 28 May 2013 14:42:23 +0000
Textiles sector ‘well placed’ to compete in US, says envoy SOUTH Africa and Africa's textiles and clothing sectors were well placed to take full advantage of trade support measures put in place by the US government, US consul-general Erica Barks-Ruggles said on Tuesday.

She said that African producers could become a competitive source of textiles, apparel and footwear products for the multibillion-dollar US market. The US is South Africa's third-largest trading partner, with trade worth about $22bn.

Although the South African textiles and clothing sector has shown modest signs of recovery of late, it has been hammered by job losses over the past decade.

At least 50,000 jobs were lost in the clothing sector alone, with local manufacturers struggling to compete with cheap Chinese imports, some illegal.

The US government has been supporting African countries through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, signed into law by the US Congress in 2000, with the broad objective of boosting exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the US. The act lets developing countries export goods tariff-free to the US.

Speaking during the first Source Africa trade event, Ms Barks-Ruggles said the US government was proud to support the continent's textiles, clothing and footwear sector and would like to see it playing a bigger role in the US market. African products currently account for 1% of the total US market.

Source Africa aims to provide a platform for buyers, manufacturers and suppliers to explore and negotiate business relationships.

Department of Trade and Industry director-general Lionel October said collaboration with the US was key to revitalising the clothing, textiles and footwear industry. This could turn around the whole manufacturing sector — identified in the latest version of the Industrial Policy Action Plan as "high priority" since it was a crucial jobs driver.

It was important too to push for intra-Africa trade. The latest IMF report showed six of the 10 fastest growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa, Mr October said.]]>
Mon, 06 May 2013 18:01:57 +0000
Sizing Up South Africa's Potential CAPE TOWN — The possibility of Africa becoming a global manufacturing power was a key focus of the inaugural Source Africa Trade Expo.

The event was aimed at creating a platform for more than 160 textile, apparel, footwear and accessories manufacturers from 15 African countries to "showcase their world-class products to an international and regional audience of professional buyers," said William Scalco of LTE Africa, which organized the event.

Supported by the USAID Southern African Trade Hub, Source Africa partnered with the American Apparel & Footwear Association as well as the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation. Speaking during the plenary session on April 9, Erica Barks-Ruggles, Consul General of the U.S. in Cape Town said that "South Africa has attracted buyers from around the world to southern Africa because it's the gateway for Africa...although there is competition from Nigeria and Ghana these days. But it remains the gateway because of the quality, because of the value, because of the sophistication of the products that can be found here, as well as the consistency of the infrastructure."

Barks-Ruggles emphasized the support that the U.S. government has extended to Africa's textile, apparel and footwear industries, citing the significant role the African Growth & Opportunity Act has played in strengthening the continent's garment industries while also encouraging investment. "Since 2001, total exports from Africa to the United States have increased over 550 percent," she said.

She acknowledged that even starting from a fairly small base translated to $53.7 billion in 2011 from $8.1 billion in 2001, and 300,000 jobs created in Africa. While oil exports accounted for most of this increase in exports, most of the growth in jobs and economic development occurred in the sector of nonenergy exports.

"Textiles and apparel accounted for more than $850 million in exports from Africa to the United States in 2011, more than double the level of 2001, although a decline from a peak of more than $1.6 billion in 2004," said Barks-Ruggles, who served as the point person in the White House from 1996 to 1999 in order to secure the passage of AGOA.

"Garments are a major AGOA success story for Southern Africa," she said. "Lesotho, Swaziland and Mauritius, in particular, developed garment industries around AGOA and now employ thousands of sewing machine operators making apparel for some of the largest and best-known brands in the U.S., including Levi's, Wal-Mart, Gap, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, Target, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Vanity Fair and Land's End. Mozambique and Botswana have developed strategies to follow the examples of their successful [Southern African Development Council] neighbors."

Moderating a panel discussion, Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the AAFA, asked what role preference programs have in driving or supporting sourcing from southern Africa.

Angela Chew, senior vice president of global sourcing and product development for Destination XL Group, said, "You can never replace all of China, so what we do is we spread the business risk among eight ASEAN countries and Latin America."

Chew noted that her company was new to this region. "When you're moving out of China, there are many places to go to — there's Vietnam, there's India, there's Pakistan, there's Bangladesh" although social issues plague that country. "When we look at a factory, certainly we are looking at the quality, deliveries and cost structure," she added. "Certainly duty-free and quota-free — it's very attractive, but it's not the most essential in my opinion."

Lamar asked Philip Krawitz, executive chairman of Cape Union Mart, a leading manufacturer and retailer of outerwear in South Africa, about the country's role as the "S" in the BRICS economic bloc, which is "often identified as a key economic market for global brands to develop consumers."

With 60 million people living south of the equator who have access to international media — and in effect are connected to the rest of the world like never before — demand is growing at an unprecedented rate, said Krawitz. He also believes that "China would ultimately make for the Chinese market. If Chinese growth continues at the 7 percent levels they've been talking about and the Chinese one-child policy seems to be placed in the back burner, Chinese population will grow and China will be hard-pressed to meet its own production needs. Those of us who have been importing from China will see that prices have risen dramatically along with restrictions like lack of flexibility...Now those are unique opportunities for the African continent because we can be more flexible. We can certainly be competitive. In my own company, our buyers have a choice whether to buy anywhere in the world or our own factory, allowing a maximum preference of 10 percent. I can tell you that our factory, we've sold out for the whole of this year and most of next year."

Ultimately, buyers were interested in seeing whether "Made in Africa" would indicate quality. Claire Davis, vice president of technical design and outlet sourcing for Chico's, said her company had never sourced from Africa, but she was ready to see what the continent had to offer.

"We're always open to considering new sourcing opportunities," she said. "But the product has to meet our standards."]]>
Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:57:32 +0000
Investment key to Africa's clothing industry growth Africa's beleaguered clothing and textile industry could take advantage of a projected downturn in exports from Chinese manufacturers - but only if a wide range of reforms are implemented locally, according to industry experts at the Source Africa trade event in Cape Town last week.

Speakers at the event said that if the difficulties currently hamstringing the sector could be overcome, then Africa's clothing and textile sector could thrive.

Roy Ashurst, a senior buyer for the US-based PVH Corporation, told delegates the annual value of Chinese clothing and textile exports was expected to drop from US$250bn to US$200bn in the coming years.

"That's US$50bn of opportunity that African companies could tap into. Wages in Africa are now lower and basic commodity goods are cheaper than anywhere else in the world, so I think we have reached a tipping point that could lead to an industry revival in the continent," he said.

World Bank senior trade specialist Thomas Farole agreed, noting rising Chinese costs. "China's minimum wage has doubled in the last five years so Africa has a serious advantage over the world's largest clothing and textile producers in this area. As Chinese wages increase, the country will shed 85m jobs [across all sectors]. The continent won't get them all of course, but they should get some."

He added Africa's relative proximity to Europe and the US would also help. "There is also a change on the way in terms of companies pulling back to regional networks to buy stock. Buyers in the US and EU do not want to wait for four weeks to get stock, and Chinese producers find it difficult to turn around orders quickly due to their geographical proximity to these markets," he said.

Struggling to compete
But Africa will still have to compete with exporting countries in the Middle East and the likes of Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Even with preferential trade agreements such as the USA's African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), African companies have struggled to compete locally, regionally and internationally.

Samuel Gayi, head of the commodities special unit at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), explained Africa's clothing and textile sector remains too fragmented for the global economy, harming competitiveness.

Currently its clothing and textile industries operate in small economic zones, with poor transport infrastructure and inefficient labour markets. In addition, companies have to contend with high inflation rates, the threat of political instability and weak institutions.

"Infrastructure is the key to increasing trade in general. Pan-African roads could cost US$32bn but they could generate US$250bn of additional trade over 15 years. The plans are there to develop these transportation corridors, but they need to be implemented," he maintained.

This not only stunts exports outside the continent, but also inter-Africa trade, which is further hampered by inadequate domestic transport policies, difficult business environments and inefficient border and customs procedures.

World Bank statistics reveal that over the last 20 years Sub-Saharan Africa has only secured 1% of the global apparel trade, with China getting a massive 41%.

International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) figures concur: in 2011, China remained the largest clothing and textile exporter in the world by far, and no African country appeared in the world's top 20 for that year.

Its best performer was Egypt, a long-standing cotton producer, which exported US$3.5bn worth of the fibre.

As further proof of the industry's stagnation across most of the region, the ITMF said that investment in the technology and skills needed to develop Africa's apparel industry over the past 10 years was also extremely low.

Asian inflow
South Africa, the continent's biggest economy and traditionally a clothing and textile hub for the region has shown how difficult it is for African companies to withstand the flood of Asian low cost goods, according to trade consultant Liz Whitehouse, South Africa-based managing partner at Whitehouse & Associates.

"South Africa's clothing industry has been under enormous pressure for a while, with total imports in this sector now valued at US$1.5bn - a 370% increase over the last decade. The government linked the decline of the local industry to Chinese imports and, as a response, imposed quotas on those goods.

"This left a gap in the market that was filled by Bangladesh and Vietnam, and Asia now accounts for 80% of South African clothing imports," she said.

Whitehouse added that South Africa and others could learn from Mauritius, whose products are selling well in her country.

Sub-Saharan Africa's top apparel exporters, the Mauritians sold US$769m worth of clothing and textile product internationally in 2010 - more than double Madagascar, its closest rival.

"Mauritius supplies high quality products and has used its physical proximity to Africa, and shorter lead times, to build good relationship with a lot of South Africa retailers. They are flexible, deliver according to the schedules, have a strong design capacity, and a two-week turnaround time to market on their orders," she said.

Cause for hope
And although the situation in South Africa's clothing and textile industry is grave - at least 50,000 jobs were lost in the clothing sector in the last decade - there may be cause for hope. The local industry has recorded modest growth since 2010, when exports grew to US$174m from US$166m the year before.

South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry director general, Lionel October, said his government's clothing and textiles competitiveness programme (CTCP), established to support the industry, was helping turn things around.

"Local retailers are increasing procurement from local manufacturers and there is confidence starting to be shown by the new investment in the sectors," he said. "The CTCP stopped the employment decline in these sectors and more than 12,000 new permanent jobs have been created.

He added that more than 400 companies have been helped by the CTCP, with ZAR1.5bn [US$165.5m] worth of applications approved.

Regionally, the private sector is also trying to react, having formed the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) in 2005.

ACTIF executive director Rajeev Arora said the organisation's "main focus is to develop the value chains, and to secure foreign direct investment so we can build the capacity of manufacturers.

"We work in an advisory capacity with most governments and are discussing how agreements like AGOA should be taken forward after 2015, when it is scheduled to finish. There are many challenges but we are working to deal with them," he explained.]]>
Tue, 16 Apr 2013 16:12:06 +0000
Textiles competitiveness programme creates over 12 000 permanent jobs – DTI The Clothing and Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) had, to date, created more than 12 000 new permanent jobs in South Africa's clothing, textiles, leather and footwear sectors, Department of Trade and Industry director-general Lionel October said on Monday.

Speaking at the Source Africa 2013 conference, in Cape Town, he indicated that the CTCP, which was launched in September 2010, had breathed new life into these sectors, with more than 400 companies having been assisted under the programme and R1.5-billion worth of applications having been approved.

"Local retailers are increasing procurement from local manufacturers and there is confidence starting to be shown by the new investment in the sectors," October added.

He stated that other Southern African Customs Union countries have also incorporated the CTCP concept, while Swaziland was implementing the programme.

"Some less-developed countries have taken full advantage of international trade agreements like [the African Growth and Opportunity Act] to build on their industries. Through these interventions, countries like Lesotho have seen their textiles and clothing sectors growing to the extent that they are now [some] of the biggest manufacturers on the continent both in fabric and garments," October stated.

He further highlighted the importance of trade among African countries, as the industry had growth potential.

"These sectors are labour intensive and have the potential to create large employment, especially in the garment manufacturing sector where the investment is low but the job creation is enormous. The industry has the biggest advantage that the raw materials like fibres, skins and hides are readily available in the African countries and it makes business sense to beneficiate these raw materials instead of exporting jobs by selling these resources to countries outside Africa," October put forward.

He pointed out that South Africa had opened its markets to Africa through the different protocols where rules of origin were respected and the manufacturing sectors of those countries were developed. However, he emphasised that South Africa did not support traders who specialised in trans-shipments and that destroyed the country's manufacturing base.]]>
Mon, 15 Apr 2013 16:16:44 +0000
SOUTH AFRICA: Sourcing event targets apparel and textiles Opportunities to source textiles, apparel and footwear from Africa are the focus of a special event taking place in Cape Town next year, which brings together producers from more than a dozen sub-Saharan African countries.

The Source Africa fair will take place from 9-12 April 2013 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Its aim is to bring domestic and international buyers and retailers face-to-face with textile, apparel and trims suppliers across the continent.

The event will consist of a two-day trade exhibition featuring African country pavilions - including Lesotho, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, Swaziland and South Africa - showcasing around 100 producers, along with a matchmaking programme that introduces buyers to vendors and can also set up factory visits.

A series of seminars will also explain why sourcing from Africa makes sense - highlighting investment opportunities in the region, addressing compliance issues, environmental stewardship, labeling product safety and preferential trade access.

"In the past decade, trade between Africa and the rest of the world has tripled, private foreign investment has surpassed official aid, and it will surely keep rising," explained Cynthia Brown, public diplomacy officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town.

"Africa, as our business community is learning, now offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world. In fact, it's the only developing region where the growth rate is expected to rise this year."

Through the US's African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), Africa's textile and apparel sector has attracted major brands such as Levi's, Wal-Mart, Gap, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, Target and Calvin Klein, creating around 300,000 jobs in an industry primarily staffed by women.

In Europe, the Everything But Arms (EBA) system of trade preferences allows duty free, quota free access to products from many textile and apparel- producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar, Lesotho and Tanzania.

The event is being organised by LTE South Africa, with support from the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub.]]>
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 05:00:25 +0000
Source Africa trade fair opens 2013 South Africa has launched its biggest apparel and textile trade fair, which is set to debut 9 April next year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The purpose of the event is to create a fair for African-based manufacturers exclusively, to stimulate business between African companies and countries, to introduce participating exhibitors to South African retail chains and to export African products to the US.

Source Africa will consist of a trade exhibition lasting two days, featuring stands from various African countries. The event will also offer a matchmaking programme to introduce buyers to vendors, factory visits for international buyers and a roster of seminars.

Speaking at the event's launch, speaker Johann Baard, executive director of Apparel Manufacturers South Africa (AMSA) said: "It's clear that Africa's time has arrived. For South Africa's clothing industry, after nearly 20 years of decline, there have been encouraging signs of stabilisation following policy interventions by the DTI. The declines haven't yet been reserved, but there is a lot of potential to create jobs and grow again."

The launch's keynote speaker, Cynthia Brown, Public Diplomacy Officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town, was upbeat about expectations for the African market. "Africa, as our business community is learning, now offers the highest rate of return on foreign investment of any developing region in the world. In fact, it's the only developing region where the growth rate is expected to rise this year," she said.]]>
Tue, 06 Nov 2012 05:00:36 +0000