Africa to launch its fashion initiative

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The African Union Commission, in collaboration with the AfroChampions Initiative, launched a Pan-African Fashion Initiative, Which is designed as a platform to bring in public-policy makers and private operators to define a long term roadmap to help African Fashion success in Africa – and beyond.
Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was among the keynote speakers at the launching, which was held on Saturday, February 9th.
The event also saw the presentation of the research conducted by the AfroChampions Initiative on the African Fashion Industry looking at the current status and opportunities ahead. Wide discussions to recommend industry transformation in the continent are expected besides the showcasing the creativity of the African Fashion Industry in a Fashion Parade to mark the event.
Western countries still dominate much of the higher value added portion of the textile and garments value chain, research, design, marketing and finance services. Truth is yet that globally, Africa’s cultural colours and clothing are increasingly being embraced, with international fashion houses now integrating more of African influences in their collections. In Africa, there is also a fashion-sensitive middle class that is rapidly growing and that could become the first ambassador of African creativity.
African Fashion has therefore, the potential to serve as a powerful tool to achieve the continent’s economic transformation as part of Agenda 2063. It is estimated that if fully developed, the African fashion value chain could have a 25% contribution to the welfare gain across the continent.
Last month the African Union has announced a strategic partnership with the AfroChampions Initiative to promote the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This partnership will give the African Union the opportunity to sensitize African entrepreneurs on the expected benefits of the CFTA while enabling them to leverage the AfroChampions platform to bring forward proposals and ideas to inform the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The AU Department of Trade and Industry and the AfroChampions Initiative’s Executive Committee are also working on the appointment of Private Sector Ambassadors for the AfCFTA to support a wider advocacy campaign on the AfCFTA targeting both African governments and civil society. These ambassadors, to be chosen amongst most recognised figures of the African business community, will be invited to explain how the AfCFTA can positively transform the continent.
The AfroChampions Initiative and the Ambassadors have just started to prepare AfCFTA sensitization meetings which will take place in major African economic hubs and as a first step of the advocacy campaign. Private Sectors ambassadors will be announced on the occasion of the AfCFTA signing ceremony, to be hosted in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21st. The partnership between the African Union and the AfroChampions initiative is expected to continue beyond the signature of the CFTA Agreement, in order to accompany the effective implementation of the CFTA and its technical and protocols in different regions of the continent by 2020.