The establishment of fully serviced industrial parks with plug and play facilities to attract investments is one of the proposed actions to gain quick wins in the promotion of the Cotton, Textiles and Apparels (CTA) Manufacturing Industries in East Africa.
The first forum of owners CTA manufacturing industries held in Kigali, Rwanda days ago further proposed sustainable procurement of all institutional uniforms, beddings, draperies by state institutions from textiles and fabric industries in the region.
Another resolution of the forum was to carry out campaigns on Buy East Africa, Wear East Africa including implementation of the declaration of Fridays as “Afrika Mashariki Fashion Day” and organizing the Annual “Afrika Mashariki Fashion Week” exhibition to precede the EAC Heads of States Summit Meetings normally held on November 30, every year.
Themed, ‘Promoting Local Production and Consumption of Cotton, Textile and Apparels (CTA) Made in the EAC Region’, the two-day forum was attended by participants from the ministries responsible for industry, trade, agriculture and EAC; private sector players, CTA industry associations, private sector associations, industry associations and development partners, among other stakeholders.
The overall objective of the Forum was to ensure that the owners of CTA industries meet discuss pertinent issues within the sector and make useful and practical recommendations to the EAC Policy Organs especially the Heads of State Summit for purposes of promoting the sector.
Opening the Forum, Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary of Trade and Industry, Michel Minega Sebera, noted that CTA has the potential to create employment, improve economic well-being and widen the tax base in the region.
Sebera called on EAC Partner States to fast track the phasing out of the second hand clothes in order to reap the benefits of the sector. He informed the meeting that in 2016, Rwanda started implementing the Summit directives and embarked on the phase out of the second hand clothes.
The PS disclosed that the phasing out of second hand clothes in Rwanda had attracted new investments in the sector and led to more than 15 new companies investing in apparels.
He further revealed that the country had also developed enabling infrastructure in the exports processing zones. He noted that the region’s efforts to promote the sector comes at a good time as the region stands to benefit with the larger market as part of the Africa continental free trade area.
In his remarks, Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, said that the Secretariat had begun implementing the SCTIFI directives on promoting local manufactured textiles and was in the process of mobilizing the East Africans to wear clothes made in East Africa.
Bazivamo invoked patriotism and national pride in the region whenever it came to consuming products made in the EAC and called for a change of attitude, mindsets and perception with regard to locally manufactured products.
The DSG urged East Africans to consume more products made products by both citizens and government agencies as directed by the Council of Ministers by interventions such as local preferential procurement and a regional fashion exhibition to coincide with the Summit meetings dubbed Afrika Mashariki Day.
He said that there was political will at the highest level and the region needs to take advantage of this support to undertake rapid development, adding that the Heads of State Summit was keen on rapid implementation of the strategies.
He urged Partner States to put their energies together to implement the decisions through quick wins saying that the region has the potential to generate the raw material required to keep the CTA sector running at full capacity.
He called for synergy among the Partner States in developing the CTA sector, adding that lone ranger tactics would not yield much.
On how to avail quality cotton seeds, the forum agreed on Partner States launching mass campaigns to empower cotton farmers, cotton farmers associations and cooperatives besides raising awareness on the recommended seeds and modern farm practices. The forum also resolved to Designate/Establish and upgrade Centres of Excellence in seed multiplication and dissemination.
On ginning, spinning, and weaving/knitting, the forum agreed, among other things, to develop financing models in partnership with East African Development Bank for the financing of the manufacturing sector.