African Development Bank (AfDB) initiated Fashionomics Africa (the economics of fashion) to increase Africa’s participation in the global textile industry supply chain. Under the initiative, AfDB aims to support the growth of African textile and fashion sectors through a focus on building the capacities of MSMEs, especially for women and the youth.
Besides using its traditional public- and private-sector financing instruments to support the growth of the textile and fashion industry, the AfDB is developing the innovative and technology-driven Fashionomics Africa platform, an online interactive marketplace for MSMEs and relevant stakeholders in the textile and fashion sectors in Africa.
The goal of this initiative is to enable young African textile and fashion entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses. “The Fashionomics platform is a wonderful opportunity for everybody who’s in the fashion industry across Africa to be able to connect. Problems shared will be problems halved and information that previously was not available can now become available,” said Anita Stanbury, executive director of the South African Fashion Council (SAFC). The sentiment was echoed by Lucilla Boyzen, designer and founder of South African Fashion Week: “The African continent holds huge potential for fashion. We all wear fashion. We need to understand the power that holds for every single country on this continent.”
Africa produces up to six per cent of the world’s cotton, but the continent has very few textile factories and, due to poor industrialisation, much of the fabric is imported from Asia.