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October 8th, 2014

CmiA and COMPACI Stakeholder Conference in Cologne – Experts’ meeting on African Cotton in Cologne

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Written by: Jacqueline Shaw
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Making African cotton competitive and providing a sustainable basis for people and nature are the goals of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and COMPACI (Competitive African Cotton Initiative). Over 150 experts across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries attended this year’s Stakeholder Conference from September 24-26th in Cologne. The discussions focused on issues such as tapping new markets for African cotton and thus securing income for cotton farmers as well as establishing a textile value chain in Africa.

Host of the conference opening event was the DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. Philipp Kreutz, member of the Management Board of the DEG, pointed out the impressive development of Cotton made in Africa and COMPACI in his welcoming speech and stressed, “The DEG is proud to have been given the opportunity as a founding member of COMPACI to support this process from the beginning.” Alamine Ousmane, the acting Minster of Finance in Cameroon, emphasized the importance of cotton production for the West African country and praised CmiA for their work. Andreas Söffker, Managing Director of Gerhard Rösch GmbH was inivited as an additional guest speaker. A pioneer in the textile industry, the company produces textiles whose value chain can be traced back to the growing region of CmiA cotton in Africa. The fashion show by the Mozambican upcycling label “Mima-te” was met with great enthusiasm. Twin sisters Nelly and Nelsa Guambe presented for the first time their exceptional modern vintage designs made from old clothes during a fashion show in Germany. Among the unique designs have been the first CmiA dresses made from old CmiA clothes.

For the first time, some manufacturers such as Ayka and Else from Ethiopia and Buetec from Cameroon haven taken part in the meeting. They made it clear that Africa is being discovered more and more by the textile industry as a production location.

“The opportunity to be able to produce within a country from the cotton field to the finished garment, establish a sustainable foundation for textile production, and to discover growing sales opportunities locally makes African countries attractive to the American and European market,” said Jas Bedi, Managing Director of African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF).

The group of experts agreed that Cotton made in Africa can lay the foundation for a sustainable textile industry in Africa. A further developed textile industry could be a great opportunity for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Cotton made in Africa
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that provides assistance in helping people help themselves through trade, to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, smallholder farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire participate in the CmiA program. CmiA teaches the cotton farmers through training programs about modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly cultivation methods that will help them improve the quality of their cotton, yield higher crops, and thus earn a better income. www.cottonmadeinafrica.org

COMPACI (Competitive African Cotton Initiative) Following the success of the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) pilot project, the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) was founded in 2005 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implement the program. The first phase of COMPACI concentrated on Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire as well as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. In the second phase the initiative was expanded to Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania.www.compaci.org







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