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.
- 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
- August 16, 2017 With speeches and fanfare, Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the country’s U.S. Ambassador, Robert P. Jackson launched the Ghana Apparel Manufacturing Expansion (GAME) project on August 14, 2017. This new apparel project is expected to create 1,187 new jobs at Dignity Do The Right Thing in Accra and will double the company’s workforce. ...Read more
- August 14, 2017 His father’s 27th child and his mother’s ninth, Aka Phillippe Kouame never learned a trade nor did he want to follow his father into farming in eastern Cote d’Ivoire. While majoring in business at the University of Abidjan, he struck an arrangement with his neighbor, a tailor, to market his “classic” men’s shirts. Mr. Kouame ...Read more
- August 14, 2017 Seven Nigerian apparel producers attending this week’s Sourcing at MAGIC show in Las Vegas learned how to get the most out of international trade shows during a one-day training organized by the Trade Hub and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). Four of the firms—Tiskies, Ruff n Tumble, Crown Natures and One Stop Celebration (OSC)—are among ...Read more
- July 31, 2017 A New York-based online marketplace for Africa-inspired fashion, Zuvaa, has outsourced production for two of its designs to Ghana-based apparel producer KAD Manufacturing, as reported by KAD’s Managing Director, Mrs. Linda Ampah, during a factory visit on July 20 by representatives from the Trade Hub and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA). Organized upon the request ...Read more
- July 18, 2017 From July 5-7, the Trade Hub and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) brought together about 40 Nigerian apparel stakeholders to learn how to expand and enter international markets, particularly the U.S. market through the U.S. African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) – an important challenge for Nigerian apparel factories, as identified in a 2016 Trade ...Read more
- June 27, 2017 Greg Kankoh, CEO of Nallem Clothing, is very familiar with Trade Hub workshops, having benefitted from many of these trainings over the years as a Trade Hub partner firm and president of the Association of Ghanaian Apparel Manufacturers (AGAM). On June 22, he attended a presentation on “Classification and export documentation in textile and wearing ...Read more
- May 29, 2017 Tiskies Global, a Nigerian apparel exporter, attempted its first shipment to the U.S. under the U.S. African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) on May 15. The attempt was unsuccessful due to improper export documentation. Nine days later, a Tiskies representative joined 25 other exporters and Nigerian customs officers to learn more about customs documentation requirements for ...Read more
- May 22, 2017 Following recent elections, representatives of Ghana’s new government have pledged support for Dignity/Do the Right Thing (DTRT), a Trade Hub-supported apparel firm, to help it achieve its expansion objectives. The two Deputy Ministers of Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah and Mr. Robert Ahomkah-Lindsey, announced their support during their first visit to the DTRT factory ...Read more