Towards a roadmap for the African Fashion Industry: initial thoughts and ideas

The goal of the Pan African Fashion Initiative is simple: to define a set of concrete actions to advance all actors in the value chain.

At the launch on 9 February, questions were raised- and with support from Dr. Frannie Leautier, Director of Operations at the Trade and Development Bank, who was moderating the debate many proposals have already been outlined.

HE Mrs. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, invited all stakeholders to the action; for Mohamed Abou El Enein, Founder of the Cleopatra Group and former President of the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the challenge at stake is that of ‘rebranding africa’; Jas Bedi, CEO of Bedi Investments and President of the International Federation of Textile Manufacturers, and Chairman of the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation, highlighted the problems related to the production of genetically modified cotton and invited all parties to consider  organic alternatives; Sam Mensah, founder of Kisua, reminded the audience the power of an online store – that of allowing any designer to operate immediately as ‘global trader’; on this topic, Carole Wainaina, Director of Operations of the africa 50 fund, emphasized the importance of developing ‘soft’ infrastructures – especially in the digital domain, for online payment and e-commerce. Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital at the African Development Bank, highlighted the challenges facing young Africans in the value chain, particularly in terms of agricultural skills and access to land, and entrepreneurial skills; Edem Adzogenu, Co-Chair of the Executive Committee AfroChampions, recalled the impact of the Shirt ‘Madiba’ brought in official meeting by the late President His Excellency President Nelson Mandela – to better appeal to the African presidents and ask them, with the first ladies, to be the first ambassadors of African creativity; Speaking on behalf of the African Uion, His Excellency Mr. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, and Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, Director of Trade and Industry, emphasized the need for a whole-value-chain approach, to act effectively at all relevant levels; Roberta Annan testified to his experience as an investor in a fund dedicated to the creative industries; Adama Ndiaye, founder of Adama Paris and Dakar Fashion Week, called on Africans to set their own standards to change the global fashion industry …

Thanks again to all our panellists and panellists for their advice – and their enthusiasm!


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