AfDB launches Fashionnomics

Models wearing clothes by design Onalaja pose on the runway during Lagos Fashion and Design Week in Lagos, Nigeria, October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Penney

African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched Fashionomics to explore the creative industries in Africa that holds a massive potential for continent-wide job and GDP growth.

The textile and clothing sector together represent the second-largest sector in developing countries after agriculture.

In textiles and clothing, the largest percentage of the workforce is made up of women.

What’s more, there is great scope to hire more youth.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) approaches the challenge of women and youth unemployment, inter alia, by supporting MSMEs in the creative industries – such as fashion, food and film.

By fostering value chain development, the Bank prioritizes, among others, the agriculture and agro-processing industries, given their potential for value addition, and close interactions with the textile, clothing and fashion industries.

The Fashionomics is Africa’s initiative of the African Development Bank, together with the African Union, the AfroChampions initiative, and other institutional partners and private operators.

Pan-African Fashion initiative is a platform for stakeholder engagement, dialogue, strategy and policies to advance the African fashion industry within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to remove trade barriers between African nations and thus expand intra-Africa trade by about $35 billion per year. Intra-African imports and exports currently account for just 15 per cent of all trade on the continent.

This partnership will give the African Development Bank, the African Union, the AfroChampions Initiative, the Trade and Development Bank, and other partners the opportunity to inform African entrepreneurs about the expected benefits of the AfCFTA.

Many of the 44 AfCFTA signatories are garment-producing countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia. 19 countries have so far ratified the AfCFTA out of the 22 needed for the agreement to come into force.

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde opened the ceremony on 9 February with a speech making the investment case for the African fashion and textile industry, inviting all stakeholders to take action whilst commending the African Development Bank’s efforts to promote the industry through the Fashionomics Africa programme.

The value of the global fashion industry, in which 90 per cent of the businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is around $2.4 trillion, with an annual growth of 5.5 per cent. Africa accounts for less than 5 per cent of this value, while Asia and the USA share 80 per cent of the market valued at $3 billion.

According to the African Development Bank, demand for African textiles and garments is increasing globally, and African patterns are gaining international recognition as fashionable and iconic pieces, with international fashion houses now integrating more and more African influences in their latest collections.