African textile and clothing manufacturers are gathered in Cape Town for a two-day conference, where they are show-casing their products to over 1 600 decion-makers from all over the world.
In the wake of the devastation of the sector following the liberalisation and restructuring of the industry in the 90s, South Africa’s textile and clothing sector lost about 120-thousand jobs.
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. This follows contraction in the mining and agricultural sectors.
As a result of government intervention, the clothing and textile sector is now employing 95-thousand workers, contributing 8% to manufacturing GDP, and 2, 9% to the country’s overall GDP.
The Department of Trade & Industry has invested over R5 billion in the sector, and it’s expecting good returns in the near future.
“We are becoming very competitive not only here in South Africa but globally the issue of labour are the same and we compete very well with countries such as Turkey, Vietnam and all other emerging countries,” said Abisha Tembo of the Clothing & Textile Sector.
Even though government is pumping more money into the sector, the continuing depreciation of the rand and other market forces make it extremely tough within the retail market.
Insiders are citing competition and cheap products from Asia and Europe as still being the stumbling block.
Stakeholders here say trade wars between the world’s two biggest economies, the US and China could add to their already challenging environment.
This, as US president Donald Trump is threatening more tariffs on Chinese products and China is threatening to retaliate.[Source: SABC]