The Swiss Government, under the Ethical Fashion Initiative Ghana Project, is providing US$3.5 million to support young Ghanaian entrepreneurs in the fashion and fabric industry to create employment through the establishment of a sustainable supply-chain in textiles, fashion and lifestyle products.
The project, which is aimed at improving the economic situation of less-endowed communities, is a joint effort between Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI). The overall aim of the grant and project is to help develop the fashion industry by empowering young entrepreneurs to produce and sell on the international market while maintaining high ethical standards.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Nii Ansah-Adjaye, expressed appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for the support and was hopeful that the project would propel young Ghanaian entrepreneurs and all stakeholders in the fashion industry to enter the international market.
Mr Ansah-Adjaye said the project was in line with the Government of Ghana’s Industrial Sector Support Programme and confirmed the Government’s commitment to working towards the betterment of the lives of Ghanaians in marginalised and deprived communities.
In a statement, the Chief Technical Advisor for the Project, Simone Cipriani, said the project sought to help Ghanaians in the textile and creative industry.
For his part, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Mr Andrea Semadeni, noted that Ghana, with its rich tradition in fabrics, had a huge potential and was well-positioned to respond to the prevailing market conditions in the textile and the lifestyle industry.
According Mr Semadeni, the project aimed to create jobs, based on deep-rooted traditions, skills and creativity for consumers’ passion. He hinted that the project team would be working in close collaboration with the International Labour Association to ensure the protection of workers’ rights and that intellectual property would also be at the heart of the project to protect individual designers’ works.
“The project team works in collaboration with the international Fair Labour Association to ensure the protection of workers’ right, improve working conditions and replies to social responsibility requirements of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Mr Semadeni said the project would help in the conversion of the mainstream fashion market into an ethical one and added that “Ghana, with its rich tradition in fabrics, is well positioned to respond to the prevailing market conditions to diversity”.
He indicated that the project was purely business-oriented and expressed optimism that it would be a success because fashion was not new to Ghana.
The Swiss Ambassador noted that the Ethical Fashion Initiative hinged mainly on three pillars, namely
- identification of the demand of the business,
- response from the local market and
- the fulfilment of social labour and environmental standards.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative Ghana Project is the first of its kind in West Africa and emphasises SECO’s development co-operation approach of empowering institutions and businesses for sustainable self reliance.