UK AFRICA TRADE EXPO
… Africans urged to focus on manufacturing
By Yemisi Suleiman
African Fashion business Coach, Jacqueline Shaw has called on stakeholders in the fashion business in Africa, to focus on manufacturing in order to foster growth in the continent.
Speaking on “The Future of Fashion Sourced and Made in Africa” at the 1st UK Africa Trade Expo that kicked off on Friday at the Institute of Directors, London, Shaw said the fashion industry in Africa should look inwards for growth as potentials abound in the continent.
“I believe there are opportunities for manufacturing and growth, but yet, there are still challenges. But we have to keep doing what we can, until infrastructure is built up. And what can we do? We can do what I did. I created my fashion business, taking people to different continent so they can meet manufacturers. I created a sourcing platform called the fashion Africa trade Expo. That platform allows you as a buyer or a designer, to connect with manufacturers, artists and makers. So, it’s just doing the things that are missing, rather than waiting for a handout which has been the traditional story of Africa.”
Shaw noted that the mentality of doing business in the diaspora instead of investing in Africa, which is the centre of the next big thing in manufacturing is a major challenge.
Sharing her company’s model of business which is sourcing Africa, made in Africa, field of Africa and trade with Africa,
Shaw said the way to build and trade in Africa is to source for materials within the continent.
The UK Africa Trade Expo is an initiative of the Africa Fashion Week London, AFWL, geared at promoting Non Oil Exports, while also bringing culture and commerce together, for sustainable development between the United Kingdom and Africa.
Day 1 of the annual AFWL, featured a highly Insightful panel discussions, influential speakers and case studies aimed at fostering growth of the fashion industry in Africa.