“If an apparel firm right here in Ghana has been able to employ 3,000 workers in three years, can you imagine how many people would be employed if all 14 [apparel association members] each employ 3,000 people?” said Mr. Alex Deprez, USAID West Africa’s Mission Director at the launch of the Association of Ghana Apparel Manufacturers. Mr. Deprez was joined by Mr. Alan Kyerematen Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry and other dignitaries at the official launch of AGAM on November 16 in Accra.
In his remarks, Mr. Deprez added that Ghana’s strategic location gives it an edge over other apparel producing countries on the continent and in Asia too. “It is faster to ship exports to the U.S. from Ghana than it is to ship from Eastern and Southern Africa and Asia,” he noted. “And you have the AGOA advantage too, so you have what it takes.”
Mr. Kyerematen, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, reiterated the government’s commitment to assist the country’s private sector as part of its objective to grow the economy. Further underlining the government’s support for this sector, Mr. Lawrence Agyinsam, Managing Director of Ghana’s Exim Bank, announced that the Bank has set aside $10 million to develop the apparel sector.
Ms. Gifty Adjei-Sam, Marketing Director and Head of Apparel from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) highlighted GEPA’s support for apparel as one of the products that the Authority will develop to increase exports. She also announced GEPA’s plans to recruit six expert apparel consultants to provide technical assistance at the apparel factories to boost their quality and competitiveness on international markets. GEPA representatives also attended Sourcing at MAGIC, the world’s largest apparel trade show, in the U.S. in August to “enable us know buyers’ requirements and build the industry accordingly” she explained, and will be providing assistance to more apparel manufacturers to attend this and other trade shows in the future.
In addition to member company support, AGAM has received assistance from GEPA and the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub. At the launch, GEPA announced its award to AGAM’s secretariat of Ghc30, 000 (around $6,600), and in October, the Trade Hub donated office furniture and equipment worth 23,400 cedis (approximately $5,300) to AGAM.
The 14 member association will engage government and other key apparel stakeholders and decision makers to support an enabling environment in Ghana where companies exporting apparel can thrive. Apparel companies are looking for government support in regulatory assistance, attracting investment, improvement of interest rates and collateral requirements by banks, factory space, and help in training new workers as they scale-up exports, particularly to the U.S., under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as to Europe and other destinations.
For more information, please visit: www.agamghana.org