US apparel imports (in square metres) grew 3.4% in December 2016 over December 2015, though falls in the previous six months a 2016 annual fall of 1.1%.
With the US still not renewing AGOA, access to Western markets for Kenya’s emerging garment industry was threatened further by a deadline for ratifying its Economic Partnership deal with the EU by October 1. This is the day after Kenya loses its duty-free access to the US, unless the US Congress passes renewal legislation that has not yet even been tabled.
At a forum organised by Hamburg-based Cotton Made in Africa on December 17, Kenyan textile managers discussed with Germans the reasons why there is almost no integrated local garment and textiles industry.
Kenya’s textile and garment industry “will create employment for Kenyans with over 200,000 jobs in the next 24 months” said Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, on November 10.
Three trade blocs covering East and Southern Africa agreed on October 25 to a common free trade area, probably called the Grand Free Trade Area, to be officially announced in mid-December. It will include 26 states in Eastern and Southern Africa
Kenya has lost its EU duty-free access, after the EU rejected a last-minute proposal from it and its neighbours for Kenya’s access to continue.
The local story says “The Export-Import Bank of India is to provide [Sh 7.9 bn, or $89 mn] funding for the planned expansion” of the Moi Textile Company. Which is almost exactly the same story the same paper ran a year ago – only then India was going to lend Sh 9 bn ($101 mn).
Subsidy costing $0.09 per kilowatt hour “is the same strategy that has worked for Uganda and Ethiopia,” says Minster for Industrialisation, who’s clearlynot looked at his neighbours’ garment export success lately. The announcement came as the country revealed ambitious three-year targets for apparel exports, almost entirely to the US.
“The textile and leather sectors…have potential to create close to 800,000 jobs in the next ten years”. But the government’s 3 billion Kenyan shillings ($33 mn) seems to be spread over an awful lot of different initiatives.
…just as Western consultants are assuming Kenya will be among potential African winners from alleged concerns about Asia’s falling competitiveness. The worries, though, are mostly about processing local cotton. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/ktn/?videoID=2000077506&video_title=reviving-the-textile-industry-in-kenya
However off the mark trade associations and political activists usually are about the garment industry, they rarely get things so spectacularly wrong as investment analysts. To take home their spectacular salaries, it’s important to acquire an altogether unique level of complete ignorance about the real world.
Current employment in the industry is 35,000
South African “Chinese” factory owners continue to fight minimum wage laws, as Kenyans blame new government-imposed minimum wagesfor garment industry collapse. Vietnamese businesses protest against “heavy burden” of new labour law. Philippine garment exporters welcometwo-tier minimum