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 its first export to the United States,” Ambassador Tamlyn said at the September 27 launch event. “I’m also pleased to note that the growth at ANC is being achieved alongside a strong commitment to ethical standards. The jobs that are being created will empower employees to support their families and communities.”
This shipment is part of a total order that will see a further 20,000 items of clothing ship by the end of the year. As a result of this order, ANC has increased its workforce by 25 people to 70 workers and will employ 100 workers by the end of 2017, with further plans for expansion in 2018.
ANC CEO Isidore Kouton met the buyer for Hurley’s, a North Dakota maker of religious garb and statues, in Las Vegas at 2016’s Sourcing at MAGIC trade show, where he was part of a West African delegation sponsored by the Trade Hub and its subcontractor partner, Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA). Both the Trade Hub and EAA assisted with follow-up visits at the 2017 MAGIC shows and at ANC’s factory in Cotonou to finalize details for the order.
At the event, Mr. Kouton told attendees: “I would like to thank USAID’s Trade and Investment Hub and Ethical Apparel Africa for the support they have provided to us that enabled us to attend the world’s largest trade fair – where we met the Hurley’s buyer. The technical support that Ethical Apparel Africa has provided leading up to and during this order has enabled us to scale up production and achieve this milestone. We expect this to be just the beginning of strong growth for our company.”