The Origin Africa Designer Showcase took center stage at the AGOA Forum gala dinner in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Origin Africa Designer Showcase is a fashion show to express the innovation, resourcefulness and creativity of African designers. It aims to raise awareness of Africa as a place to do business and as a sourcing destination for international buyers.
The Origin Africa Designer Showcase event is a collaborative partnership between the U.S Agency for International Development’s (USAID) East Africa Trade Hub and its trade association partner, the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF).
“This designer showcase is a testament of the changing paradigm of Africa as a new horizon for sourcing,” said Jaswinder Bedi, Chairman, ACTIF. Origin Africa is both an event and an ongoing effort dedicated to improving African trade. Since 2009, the USAID East Africa Trade Hub has facilitated over US $125 million in exports to the U.S. through AGOA and has assisted 200 firms to grow their export business.
“USAID Trade Hubs are a part of USAID’s new Trade Africa Initiative that seeks to increase internal and regional trade within Africa, and expand trade and economic ties between Africa, the United States, and other global markets,” said USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Earl Gast.
Global demand for fashion, diversification of sourcing and manufacturing locations around the world, and the growing African middle class has stimulated demand for stylish, African-made apparel. USAID Trade Hubs build on this momentum by supporting efforts, such as the Origin Africa Designer Showcase, to promote Africa as a reliable sourcing destination and to help African business take advantage of trade opportunities available under AGOA.
Since AGOA was signed into law in 2000, apparel exports to the U.S. have risen from US $746 million to US $1 billion. AGOA has been rightfully praised as the cornerstone of U.S. trade and economic policy concerning Africa and has had a transformative effect on Africa. This can be seen most clearly in the textile and apparel sector, where AGOA has created an estimated 300,000 new direct jobs, 50% of which were for women, and supported an additional three million indirect beneficiaries.