Promoting the textiles and clothing value chain: Role of the AfCFTA
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is giving the continent new energy to boost intra-Africa trade with the regional economic communities (RECs) free trade areas (FTAs) as building blocks. Promoting regional value chains (RVCs) within these RECs can contribute to the achievement of the goals of the AfCFTA. This is because participation in RVCs creates an opportunity to enhance competitiveness but also support upgrading by accessing global technologies and knowledge. Firms will be exposed to new technologies and know-how that might otherwise be unavailable, as well as to new sources of capital.
The textiles and clothing (T&C) industry is important for many African countries and has the potential to contribute to Africa’s industrial transformation and employment creation. The industry is mostly composed of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which can rapidly generate decent jobs – both skilled and unskilled – especially for youth and women.
The T&C industry holds potential for value added benefits and job creation. The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates up to 600% in value addition can be created along the cotton value chain (VC); from cotton production, spinning and twisting into yarn, to weaving and knitting into fabric, followed by dying, printing and designing. Furthermore, additional jobs and wealth can be created across the fashion industry value chain, from production to marketing. This Trade Report focuses on the T&C value chain and analyses cross border trade flows to identify Africa’s global players and the level of intra-Africa trade.
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