Since its inception on 2001, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), has strengthened USA – Africa trade relations and increased exports from the continent to this major market. AGOA offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. It has become increasingly important for Southern Africa, and AGOA continues to be the centerpiece of the US – Africa commercial relationship.
Source Africa, the Textile, Apparel and Footwear trade event that is taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town on 19 & 20 June, provides a platform for African manufacturers to connect with regional and international buyers, further supporting the growth of the industry.
Exports from Africa to the USA under AGOA have grown by 500%, from $8.15 billion, in 2001 to $53.8 billion in 2011, of which the Textile and Apparel Industry amounted to almost $1 Billion. Despite this remarkable growth, the African share of the US market amounts to 1% meaning that there is ample opportunity for African manufacturers to increase their exports to the US.
The latest findings of the United States International Trade Commission (2014) suggest that AGOA’s impact on foreign direct investment has been strongest in the apparel and footwear industry. Overall, the program’s trade benefits and eligibility criteria appear to have motivated AGOA beneficiary countries to improve their business and investment climates.
Textile and apparel exports to the US between 2012 and 2013 grew 11% from $815,308,000 to $908,125,000 with a percentage increase of 94.09% of all textiles and apparel exports to the US being exported under AGOA, from a percentage of 91.48% in 2012.
At Source Africa international industry leaders such as Steve Lamar, Executive Vice President of the American Apparel and Footwear Association and Gail Strickler, Assistant US Trade Representative for Textiles will be speaking on Understanding US Sourcing Needs and AGOA amongst other topics that will be addressed by a line up of international industry experts.
It is also worth noting that the textile and apparel industry is one of the most accessible manufacturing industries, and has historically been the cornerstone of industrial development for developing countries. The industry is a high exchange earner and is employment intensive, and the clothing sector in particular has generated thousands of jobs in the Southern Africa region. Moreover, it is a platform for women’s economic empowerment as over 80% of the clothing industry jobs traditionally go to women.
The Source Africa Trade Event includes a two-day trade show (19 & 20 June from 10am until 5pm), a series of international business seminars organised by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), as well as networking events. The exhibitor list includes more than 215 manufacturers from 19 countries including South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Madagascar, Botswana, Cameroun, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Cote D’Ivoire. International buyers are travelling from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, UK, Russia and UAE.
For more information on the event visit www.sourceafrica.co.za, and follow Source Africa on Twitter @SourceAfricaCT and Facebook at Source Africa – The African Textile, Apparel and Footwear Trade Event.