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Growing Africa’s fashion industry can transform economies, enrich cultural identities, says Africa Fashion Show Geneva
GENEVA, 26 MAY 2016: Major African countries are experiencing low economic growth as a result of the fall in global commodity prices, but the transformative potential of the fashion industry can reduce Africa’s dependence on commodities and set the region on a healthier path to economic diversification, while enriching its enviable culture and traditions.
The fashion industry is a $1.2 trillion global industry, but Africa gets very little. This is because African governments have paid little attention to increasing financial aid and investing in infrastructure. Africa has been the source of raw materials that support thriving fashion trends and growth abroad. It can turn to its own backyard to lift the region out of poverty. Only about 15% of sub-Saharan cotton is processed in Africa, with rest exported to developed countries. Africa countries can use cotton production to build on textile manufacturing.
“The fashion industry is one of the most neglected and underdeveloped sectors in Africa”, says Temitayo Ayinla-Omotola, Founder, Africa Fashion Show Geneva (AFSG), adding that “as the second largest sector in developing countries after agriculture, the textile and clothing sector can boost job creation for the teeming young population and bolster economic growth too”.
“Fashion in Africa is not just a commercial enterprise but it is a lifestyle that builds on the value of societies and traditions”.
Countries such as Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, India and Turkey get billions of dollars from the value chain of the textile and clothing sector. This has enhanced cotton production, textile manufacturing and exports to developed countries. Ethiopia’s combination of local cotton and textile supply was among the reasons for H&M and its suppliers to invest there. Other African countries can follow this model.
“African governments must step up to the challenge and grab the opportunity that has been knocking harder at their door every year. Since 2013, the Africa Fashion Show in Geneva has been putting the spotlight on emerging and talented designers from that region. The leaders need to be more conscious of the transformative role that fashion plays. They must invest in education and training of the rising youth population and invest in infrastructure for domestic industries to thrive”, says Temitayo Ayinla-Omotola.
With new technologies evolving, there is a huge opportunity for African governments to forge new business partnerships. This entails bringing the private sector on board to create finance and credit schemes that help promising and talented designers to compete in the international arena.
This year’s Africa Fashion Show Geneva brings together designers from Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. It will take place on Saturday, 28 May at the Grand Hotel Kempinski, Geneva. The runway show, exhibition and direct sales (opens at 12h00) begin at 14h00 and a networking and gala-dinner event is scheduled for 19h30.
The sponsors for the event include: Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Faithshield Investment Management, Brussels Airlines, JA Foundation, Strigax Sarl, Augusta Energy, Optima Energy and Roger Dubuis Watches.
NOTE TO EDITORS
The Africa Fashion Show Geneva (AFSG) is the annual flagship event organised by Crucible Events & Planners, which aims to tell a different story about Africa to the global community showcasing the beauty, vibrancy and diversity of the continent.
Crucible Events & Planners (CEP) is a Swiss-based events, entertainment, and public relations group. We are the partner of choice for individuals, organizations and businesses seeking a full-service solution for successful events and entertainment.
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