CAPE TOWN– Representatives of Africa’s garments and textile industry have gathered in Cape Town for a two-day conference where they are showcasing their products to more than 1,600 decion-makers from all over the world.
In the wake of the devastation of the sector following the liberalization and restructuring of the industry in the 1990s, South Africa’s textile and clothing sector has lost about 120,000 jobs.
However, the sector has been saved and is now on the road to recovery. It has become a sector which is giving a glimmer of hope, especially with the recent contraction in the mining and agricultural sectors in South Africa.
As a result of government intervention, the clothing and textile sector is now employing 95,000 workers, contributing 8.0 per cent to manufacturing output, and 2.9 per cent to the country’s overall gross domestic product (GDP).
The Department of Trade and Industry has invested over 5.0 billion Rand (about 366 million US dollars) to promote and develop the sector, and it is expecting good returns in the near future.
We are becoming very competitive not only here in South Africa but globally. The issues of labour are the same (everywhere) and we compete very well with countries such as Turkey, Vietnam and all other emerging countries, said Abisha Tembo of the department’s Clothing and Textile Sector.
Even though the government is pumping more money into the sector, the continuing depreciation of the Rand and other market forces are making it extremely tough within the retail market. Insiders are citing competition and cheap products from Asia and Europe as still being the main challenges.
Stakeholders here say trade wars between the world’s two biggest economies, the United States and China, could add to their already challenging environment. US President Donald Trump is threatening to impose more tariffs on Chinese products and China is threatening to retaliate.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK