|I think the press release below is exciting. It is exciting because this will take fair trade to a new level - about time, too; it will give African fashion designers access to global market; Western designers won't get away with fashion plagiarism. But most importantly, I hope it will open up the global market for other commodities produced in developing countries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has won the best exhibit award at one of the apparel industry's largest trade shows. Fifteen companies receiving aid from USAID's three trade hubs in Africa showcased garments with unique fabrics, patterns and colors at the Feb. 12-15 event in Las Vegas known as MAGIC Marketplace.
Each trade hub - located in Southern Africa (Botswana), Western Africa (Ghana, Senegal), and East and Central Africa (Kenya) - helps entrepreneurs in the region develop professional businesses capable of competing in the global arena.
The hubs also promote economic development within Africa by training African business owners to operate companies prudently and profitably. Business management and marketing skills are also strengthened in the process. African manufacturers seeking American markets are supported by the trade hubs to exhibit their goods at international trade shows. The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act waives the duty for imports from Africa, further enabling African businesses to participate in formal economic trade.
The 15 companies, representing nine African countries, set up their displays inside the "Source Africa Pavilion," which was sponsored by USAID. Hundreds from the fashion industry attended MAGIC Marketplace each year hoping to attract the attention of buyers from the retail industry. Fulfilling USAID's humanitarian mandate, the African-designed goods are not only attracting buyers, but are also building economic momentum and putting Africa on the map as a viable supplier of apparel for American and international outlets.For more information about USAID and its other programs in Africa, visit www.usaid.gov.
Labels: African fabric prints, African fashion, fair trade