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Creating Wealth through Fashionomics


DATE: Wednesday 24 May 2017                                          TIME: 14:30 – 16:30


  • Dr. Célestin Monga, Vice-President and Chief Economist, AfDB


  • Mr. Pathe O, Fashion Designer, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire; Designer of famous "Nelson Mandela shirts"
  • Mr. Sidahmed Alphadi, African Designer and UNESCO Artist for Peace
  • Ms. Helen Hai, CEO, Made in Africa Initiative, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador, Vice President and General Manager for overseas investment for Huajian Group
  • Mr. David Suddens, CEO, Vlisco Group
  • Mr. Nick Earlam, CEO Plexus Cotton Group
  • Ms. Neelam Chhiber, Industrial Designer, Co-Founder of Mother Earth / Industree, India


  • Ms. Namakau Mukelabai, ZNBC, Zambia

The textile/clothing market is already worth more than US$31 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa and accounts for the second largest number of jobs in developing countries after agriculture main of whom are women and young people. African fabrics are inspiring more and more famous designers. Many of the textile/clothing firms are SMEs. In Côte d’Ivoire, women own 80 percent of businesses in the industry and close to half of the entrepreneurs are under the age of 35. These are also mostly SMEs, since 65 percent have fewer than 10 employees. Only 33 percent work with local suppliers. In Ethiopia, a pioneer in the textile industry in the region with more than 40,000 employees, salaries are three times lower than in Côte d’Ivoire and the cost of electricity remains is due to availability of hydroelectricity, and inputs are affordably priced. This country, where 36 percent of the businesses in the industry have over 500 employees, exports its products primarily to the United States and the European Union. Overall, is estimated that the textile clothing industry could generate 400,000 jobs in Sub- Saharan Africa alone and exports could double in the next 10 years.
The Bank’s “Fashionomics” initiative is an avenue for supporting the development of creative industries that utilize agriculture products, especially cotton, in Africa. The panel will therefore discuss methods of strengthening these linkages, and address some critical questions including what it takes to promote textile manufacturing in Africa, what the involvement of African countries in that global industry could look like – from conception and design. This event will end with a small fashion show to give the audience a flavour of the work of these designers. By combining a fashion show and panel discussion, the event will use the global value chains in textiles to illustrate possibilities for African agriculture-related industrialization which are typically debated in the abstract.

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Creating Wealth through Fashionomics, AM 2017