THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for the empowerment of small and medium operators in the textiles, apparel and accessories sectors as a deliberate job creation strategy.
The AfDB made the call at the recently concluded Small Business Indaba held late June in Gauteng, South Africa. The main objective of the Small Business Indaba was to provide small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) with the tools and network to grow their manufacturing operations to the next level of innovation and job creation.
‘Textile and clothing is the second largest sector in the developing world after agriculture. This sector is dominated by SMEs and holds the potential to create jobs for millions of women and youth across Africa,’ Emanuela Gregorio, gender specialist at AfDB, said at the conference.
‘The foundation of any long-lasting venture in Africa depends on the continuous empowerment of regional SMEs and young entrepreneurs. Governments, the private sector and international investors must consider Africa’s young people and SMEs central to the stability of their economies.’
A large percentage of workers in the textile and clothing industry is made up of women.
Because it is labour-intensive, it has great scope to offer employment and to transform the lives of many women and youth across Africa.
‘In this context, we have developed a flagship initiative named Fashionomics to enable African women and youth operating in the textiles, apparel and accessories sector to develop and grow their businesses,’ she noted.
The AfDB launched Fashionomics (the economics of fashion) initiative to increase Africa’s participation in the global textile industry supply chain.
Fashionomics is an initiative to support the development of micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) operating in the textile, apparel and accessories industry in Africa, with a focus on women and youth empowerment.
SMEs have the great potential of fuelling growth and spur job creation. Today, these small and growing businesses create around 80 percent of the region’s employment, establishing a new middle class and fuelling demand for new goods and services.
The Bank runs an SME programme designed to support micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Bank is closely tracking its role in the continent’s inclusive development through its High-5 agenda (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa).