U.S. Ambassador to Benin applauds country’s first apparel export under AGOA

Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn (third from right) looks on as Roshan Dusaye, Technical Operations Manager for EAA at ANC, explains how the Hurley’s order is being packed and shipped. Photo credit: Trade Hub

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.”

The Hurley’s order has created 25 new jobs at ANC, with further expansion planned in the coming months. Fabrice Kpanou, pictured second from right in the photo above, is one of the new hires. He is 20 years old, and he works in the finishing department, where he helps prepare the finished garments for shipping.
Working at ANC is Fabrice’s first job after high school. “I appreciate going to work each day and being able to contribute to my family’s living expenses. I have high hopes for ANC’s future, and as the company expands I am looking forward to increasing my skills in many areas of production – I would really like to develop a career in apparel as this is a growing industry in Benin.”

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.”

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