The Business of Fashion: AFRICA FASHION WEEK STOCKHOLM – October 1st – 3rd 2015

SSACC member Le Noir PR brings us Africa Fashion Week Stockholm (AFWS) for the second year running. This year SSACC is proud to be one of the main sponsors for the event in a newly formed partnership between SSACC and AFWS which we look forward to continue for many years to come.

The Fashion Industry now receives an annual revenue of $2.5 trillion, with an unprecedented global economy shift of power towards emerging market cities it is therefore unsurprising that women’s apparel market growth will accelerate driven by the increasing weight of emerging markets. Historically the industry has grown 3% annually but by 2025 is expected to be at 5%. Emerging markets will account for 55% of apparel sales and 60% of the growth, 62% of women’s apparel market growth will come from the 600 growth cities, of which 16 of the top 20 are in emerging markets.

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the potential to become the global manufacturing destination, especially considering the rising cost pressure in traditional markets such as China. Swedish fashion retailer giant H&M is one of the latest global companies to experiment with sourcing its products from sub-Saharan African countries. It has placed test orders for garments from Ethiopian and Kenyan suppliers and plans to open outlets in South Africa. A number of European fashion brands, including Topshop, Zara and Mango, have expanded to countries such as South Africa and Nigeria in recent years. Online retailing is also growing, offering new sales avenues. Nigeria for example with 56 million internet subscribers and 120 million active mobile lines (2013), has witnessed a massive increase in e-commerce. This is expected to grow further as infrastructure and confidence in online retail grow – British online fashion store ASOS now delivers to Nigeria

Economic trends such as high growth in urbanization, a youth skewed demographic, growing middle class and internet subscribers makes the potential of the fashion industry in SSA vast. Despite these positive indicators SSA still has many challenges that must be over come in order for the true potential of the industry to be reaped. Infrastructure is one of the main challenges, along with lack of government policies (for example financing) to serve as enablers for the industry to grow. External challenges include issues such as “dumping”: over production from Turkey and China, last seasons clothing from Europe and the US and used clothes from consumers in developed countries under the hospice “help Africa”. It is also important for SSA to develop the full value chains in the industry, that is, from cotton farming to clothing manufacturing. The African Cotton & Textile Industry Federation (ACTIF) calculate that if 100% value was added to the lint currently produced in Africa it would translate to the creation of 9 million jobs for the continents textile industry.

The capacity building for the fashion industry must therefore begin from growing SSA’s textile industry, encouraging investments in this space which would subsequently grow the Fashion Industry.

There are 11 cities in SSA that currently have a large existing apparel and footwear market and should be on the watch list for all in this space:

1. Johannesburg & Cape Town – South Africa – $28.8 billion

2. Lagos – Nigeria – $4.7 billion

3. Luanda – Angola – $1.5 billion

4. Dar Es Salaam – Tanzania – $1.1 billion

5. Nairobi – Kenya – $1 billion

6. Kinshasa, Congo DRC – $620 million

7. Abidjan – Ivory Coast – $549 million

8. Addis Ababa – Ethiopia – $440 million

9. Dakar – Senegal – $215 million

10. Accra – Ghana – $167 million

(data source Euromonitor International)

Africa Fashion Week Stockholm (AFWS) 2015 will be a 3 day event, organized by Le Noir PR with SSACC as one of the main sponsors. This is a must event for all those that are interested in entering this space or currently engaged in the industry in Africa and are looking to expand. The event will kick off with a VIP Dinner on the 1st of October, in attendance will be Stockholm Fashion Week, Stockholm Fashion District, Companies engaged in this industry both in Sweden and Africa, Swedish designers of African Origin, The Diplomatic Missions of SADC and many more. more information on AFWS-2015 click HERE

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SADC DAY – Stockholm 20th August 2015 – recap

On the 20th of August 2015 the SADC Diplomatic Missions in Sweden and the Swedish Southern African Chamber of Commerce (SSACC) co-hosted, in partnership with KPMG, the first ever SADC Day celebration in Sweden.

Under the theme Sustainable Business Operations and Relations with SADC’. Aside from celebrating SADC Day, the intention of the event was to allow for dialogue and cooperation between governments, businesses and civil society as well as share the latest developments happening in the SADC region. In attendance were all the SADC Embassies in Sweden, Swedish Foreign Ministry, Swedish Industry and Private Sector Organizations. 

The event began with a high-level seminar led by KPMG, kicking off the seminar with a presentation of their Change Readiness Index (CRI). The CRI measures/assesses the capabilities of a country (governments, private sector and civil society) to prepare for, manage and respond to a wide range of change drivers. The 9 global megatrends that are drivers of change include: Demographics, Rise of the Individual, Enabling technology, Economic Interconnectedness, Public Debt, Economic Power Shift, Climate Change, Resource Stress and Urbanization.  According to KPMG and co-authors of the CRI, Oxford Economics, the CRI can be used to improve government policy, inform public and private investment decisions by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of target countries, build best practices by stimulating debate on change readiness and learning from higher-ranking countries. Discussed during the seminar was that the CRI is not intended as a one off solution, and was not created to rank countries against each other. Each country has unique challenges and strengths in each indicator used for the CRI and therefore the tool allows for an in-depth understanding of dynamics within each country, their capacity to prepare and adapt to change. More importantly in an Economic Community such as SADC, the analytics enable the SADC members to observe best practices of their fellow member States, exchange knowledge and create targeted capacity building policies.

The representatives of SADC, the SADC Diplomatic Missions in Sweden, reiterated the importance of knowledge sharing within the region, but noted that despite the challenges in the region, the economic community has come far since 1992 when it  transformed from SADCC into the SADC, adopted the SADC Treaty and redefined the basis of cooperation among Member States from a loose association into a legally binding arrangement. SADC in 1992, with a population of 257.7 million, had a total GDP of $400 billion. Today SADC is an even larger market,  287 million people,  GDP of $700 billion and between 4 – 5% average GDP growth since 2000.  2012 figures show that SADC has the highest overall governance score compared to the other 7 “regional economic blocks/communities”. On Sustainable Economic Opportunity, the SADC region also scores highest relative to the other regional blocks on the continent, averaging a 51.8 score which is just lightly higher than the East African Community (EAC – 51.4). This year, 2015, five of the 15 SADC countries held peaceful elections, which shows great improvements in political security for the region – all of these are assuring for investors. In specific sectors, there are vast opportunities in infrastructure – energy sector infrastructure as well as transport and logistics, which would ease and greatly reduce the costs of doing business within the region. Tourism, ICT and Water are also great opportunities (extra read – SADC Success Stories). Echoing this, Annika Soder – Swedish State Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs – highlighted Energy, ICT and Water sectors as where Sweden indeed has a competitive advantage, as such, Sweden is concentrating its investment and commerce activities in the SADC region to these sectors. The Swedish Water Institute (SIWI) has now opened an office in Pretoria and are working on projects throughout the region and Sweden has been strongly involved with the “Power Africa” initiative headed by USAID. According to the Swedish Government, ICT links all areas of development and in showing their (Sweden’s) commitment to cooperation in this space, the Swedish Ambassador to South Africa (additionally responsible for Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho) hosted at his residence in Pretoria the telecom regulators of SADC region for a two day seminar, resulting in a rewarding exchange. Annika Soder expressed further the willingness of Sweden to facilitate similar initiatives at the ministerial level. Sweden has always had strong ties with most of the SADC member States and believe it is always an advantage to strengthen ties with an already integrated region, it makes doing businesses easier and it gives a larger market opportunity for Swedish industry. Regional cooperation also contributes to social developments, said Annika Soder, as solutions can be found together even if they are to be implemented individually within each member State. Sweden is committed to assisting in strengthening the integration of SADC by drawing from its own experience in cooperation within the Scandinavian and Nordic Communities.

The celebrations in Stockholm took place following the official SADC Day on 17th August which was celebrated in Botswana with the ’35th Heads of State Summit’. Botswana official took over as Chair of SADC from Zimbabwe and SADC Heads of States engaged in discussions on Accelerating Industrialization of SADC Economies through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital as the theme of the summit, which made the theme of our Stockholm celebrations most fitting to have been on discussions surrounding sustainable business relations between SADC and Sweden.

This year’s occasion symbolizes a lasting imprint in ties between the SADC missions and the Swedish-Southern African Chamber of Commerce and as the new Chair of SADC Heads of Mission in Sweden– Botswana Ambassador H.E Nthekela stated “now to be refered to simply as ‘The Chamber’”

**From the Board of SSACC we would like to thank our co-hosts – the SADC Diplomatic Missions in Sweden and our partner KPMG for another successful event – we look forward to SADC day 2016. However much more events and collaborations are upcoming during this autumn – follow us on our social media for up to date business information from SADC, cooperation between Sweden and SADC and all our activities – to become a member of SSACC click HERE