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 across Togo.
Togo was recently approved for a textile visa to facilitate duty-free apparel exports to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Following the visa’s approval, Minister Dede Ekoue, Special Advisor to the Togolese President, requested that the Trade Hub conduct an assessment of Togo’s apparel sector.
Emmanuel Odonkor, the Hub’s Apparel Value Chain Specialist, and Musa Rubin, a Trade Hub-hired apparel consultant, visited apparel factories and workshops from October 11-16 to provide technical advice in determining the types of machines needed for production, identifying skill sets required of machine operators, and setting up factories.
“We found, during the assessment mission, that apparel production for exports is a very new area for the country,” said Mr. Odonkor. “Industry actors need to learn faster and work harder and invest heavily in infrastructure, equipment and machinery, training, and market access.”
Apparel producers also shared their challenges in different areas: finding the right infrastructure and skilled garment workers, accessing finance, attending trade shows for visibility, forging market linkages, and understanding industry best practices.
The Trade Hub’s workshop, co-hosted by the country’s AGOA Trade Resource Center (ATRC), addressed the issues highlighted by apparel producers during the initial apparel production assessment. Participants discussed the apparel industry, key terminologies, access to markets, social and environmental compliance, and manufacturing challenges such as production efficiency and quality control.