West Africa is catching up to other African regions as a global sourcing destination for apparel. Duty free advantages under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) make the region cost-competitive, especially as labor costs rise in Asia, with lower incidence of brand-damaging reputational issues of safety and exploitation. West African governments are creating business-friendly environments with local incentives—such as export processing zones, tax holidays, expedited permits, and help finding factory space—to spur major U.S. and EU brands to increasingly source garments from the region.
- Helping lead firms increase apparel production for export to the U.S. and other markets.
- Establishing linkages between West African designers and fashion manufacturers and American sourcing companies to find buyers in the U.S.
- Promoting fair trade policies to institute a Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production program, support women’s fair employment, and encourage employee-friendly labor.
- Collaborating with government agencies to develop and implement export promotion strategies for apparel.
In this sector, the Trade Hub is partnering with the Ministries of Trade and Industry in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana; chambers of commerce in Benin and Côte d’Ivoire; the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce; the Association of Ghana Apparel Manufacturers; the Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division); the Ghana Export Promotion Authority; the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; the Ghana Free Zones Board; the Ghana Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Ethical Apparel Africa.
Ghana’s newly inaugurated Association of Ghanaian Apparel Manufacturers (AGAM) partners with government to develop apparel exportsNovember 20, 2017“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 each employ 3,000 people?” said Mr. Alex Deprez, USAID West Africa’s Mission Director at the launch of the Association of Ghana Apparel ...Read more
- November 6, 2017 The Trade Hub offered nine Nigerian companies an extensive step-by-step workshop for exporting goods to U.S. markets under the African Growth and Opportunity Act at a two-day apparel and leather training in the country’s commercial hub, Lagos. Led by Mr. Emmanuel Odonkor, the Trade Hub’s Apparel Value Chain Specialist, and organized by the Nigerian-American Chamber of ...Read more
- November 6, 2017 The Trade Hub hosted a one-day capacity-building workshop for Togolese apparel producers on October 19, creating a platform to learn about the global apparel industry. The workshop attracted 40 participants—primarily members of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program, supported by the U.S. Department of State—and addressed concerns gathered from previous Trade Hub visits to apparel producers ...Read more
- October 30, 2017 A Ghanaian fashion technologist spent much of October building staff skills and capacity in cutting and sampling at Côte d’Ivoire’s leading apparel factory. Ms. Mabel Dede Doe, contracted by the Trade Hub, was so popular that O’sey Textiles shared the cost for her to stay an additional week. “The sampling and cutting are a crucial phase ...Read more
- October 9, 2017 Six years ago, Mrs. Chantale Guiraud, CEO of the Ivorian weaving company Kehanon, sent samples of her cloth to American wholesalers after their scoping mission in Cote d’Ivoire. But the samples she sent to the U.S. failed the quality test: colors were bleeding in the wash and some cloths were fraying. “It was a disappointment for ...Read more
- October 9, 2017 The Trade Hub has donated office furniture and equipment worth 23,400 cedis (approximately $5,300) to the Association of Ghana Apparel Manufacturers (AGAM) as part of a grant agreement signed this July. AGAM will use the items to run its newly established secretariat, located in the Adjabeng Free Zone enclave in Accra, which was set up ...Read more
- October 2, 2017 Burkina Faso became eligible to export under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in December 2004, and eligible to export textiles under AGOA in August 2006. One of the AGOA requirements for textiles benefits concerns the establishment of an AGOA visa system for the export of apparel and textile products to the United States. ...Read more
- October 2, 2017 With speeches and a tour of one of Benin’s leading apparel factories, Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn (pictured second from right) applauded the shipment of 6,000 clergy shirts and 9,000 clergy collars to Hurley’s Religious Goods in the United States—made by Africa New Confection (ANC). “I congratulate Benin on the country’s first apparel AGOA shipment and ANC for ...Read more
- September 19, 2017 Following a series of interventions and technical assistance to Ghanaian apparel manufacturer Alfie Designs (Alfie), officials from USAID and the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub paid a visit September 7 to the factory. There, they learned of changes the company is implementing to meet increased demand and begin exporting to the U.S. under the ...Read more
- September 19, 2017 In September, the Hub’s apparel specialist, Emmanuel Odonkor and a team from the Nigeria Export Promotion Council—toured the large Cross River State garment factory for an initial assessment. Opened in October 2016, the 6,000 sq. meter factory has 600 machines and a workforce of 1,000 employees running two shifts. The factory produces mainly for the local ...Read more
- September 19, 2017 To maximize a Nigerian delegation’s recent participation at high-profile U.S. trade shows, the Trade Hub spent two weeks with exhibitors in Nigeria to guide them on following up on more than 100 total leads and needed improvements to meet buyer specifications. Seven Nigerian companies—the largest West African contingent by far—exhibited at Sourcing at MAGIC and WWDMAGIC ...Read more
- September 19, 2017 Seven Nigerian apparel companies generated buzz and more than 100 leads from potential buyers and sourcing agents during the MAGIC apparel trade show in the U.S. this August, building on support from the USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). Buyers said they were impressed with the designs and ...Read more
- September 4, 2017 Côte d’Ivoire’s leading apparel factory is growing, in part thanks to vital, timely assistance from the U.S. Government as it expands capacity and hires unemployed youth, the Director of USAID West Africa learned during an August 24 visit to O’sey Collection’s factory. “Osez O’sey!” said Mr. Alex Deprez, encouraging employees at the factory in ...Read more
- August 21, 2017 Seven Nigerian companies—the largest West African contingent by far—exhibited at high-profile shows in Las Vegas, Aug. 13-16 with support from the Trade Hub and Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). Four firms—Tiskies, Ruff n Tumble, Crown Natures and One Stop Celebration (OSC)—were among the nine West African apparel manufacturers at Sourcing at MAGIC, a show dedicated to apparel sourcing for designers, buyers, ...Read more
At MAGIC, new and returning West African companies meet clients ready to explore the Africa AdvantageAugust 21, 2017Since his first visit to the Sourcing at MAGIC show many years ago, Greg Kankoh, CEO of Bulluk/Nallem had not returned. But in August 2017, he was pleasantly surprised by the results of his participation with the Trade Hub’s West African delegation to the largest apparel show in the U.S.—including a face-to-face meeting with a ...Read more