Africa50 Discusses The Role of Infrastructure in Helping Africa’s creative Industries Compete Globally, on the margins of AU Summit
Addis Ababa, 9 February 2019 - Africa50 participated in the launch of the African Union’s Pan-African Fashion Initiative, alongside the Department of Trade and Industry, AfroChampions Initiative and other partners, on the sidelines of the AU Summit. The event tackled the opportunity to boost the economic impact of Africa’s booming fashion industry, through increased collaboration between stakeholders, from policymakers, industrial leaders to creative entrepreneurs, logistics and infrastructure providers.
Speaking at the launch, in a panel themed “Creating an African Fashion Value Chain to boost intra-African trade”, Africa50 Chief Operating Officer, Carole Wainaina, said “Developing the fashion value chain, like that of many economic sectors in Africa, requires improved infrastructure to get products to local and global markets, reliable internet access to facilitate e-commerce, and electricity to run it all. Africa50 can contribute to this by providing expertise and financing for the infrastructure that will facilitate the production and trade of African fashion and creative entrepreneurs, for the benefit of Africans.” She added that it was time that the creative industries were not just looked at as a nice-to-have, but as must-have, and integrated into national development plans to drive economic growth and employment.
According to the African development Bank’s recent studies, the African fashion industry only is valued at $3 billion and is rapidly growing. Demand for African textiles and garments is increasing globally, and African patterns are gaining recognition as truly fashionable and iconic pieces, with international fashion houses now integrating more and more African influences in their latest collections. The creative industries, which include fashion design, film and food industries, are among the most dynamic emerging activities of the continent and they will drive new trade patterns for African countries.
The event was officially opened by H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and featured a number of illustrious speakers, including H.E.M. Albert Muchanga, African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Dr. Arancha Gonzalez, ITC Executive Director, Treasure Thembisile Maphanga, the African Union’s Director for Trade and Industry, and Dr. Frannie Léautier, Chief Operating officer of TDB, Oley Dibba-Wadda, AfDB’s Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, Edem Adzogenu, Co-Chair of AfroChampions Initiative’s Executive Committee, Anna Getaneh, Founder and Creative Director of African Mosaique, Samuel Mensah, Founder of Kisua, Adama Ndiaye, Organiser of the Dakar Fashion Week, Roberta Annan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Impact Fund for African Creatives, Jas Bedi, Bedi Investments CEO, Mohammed Abou El Enein, Founder and Chairman of Ceramica Cleopatra Group.
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