More than 150 experts across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries participated last week in the 8th CmiA and Compaci Stakeholder Conference, which took place from 24th to 26th September in Cologne.
The main goals of the two initiatives is to make African cotton competitive and to provide a sustainable basis for people and nature. In addition, the discussions focused on issues such as securing income for cotton farmers by tapping new markets for African cotton and establishing a textile value chain in Africa.
Among the speakers were Philipp Kreutz, member of the management board of the DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH), one of the hosts of the conference. In his welcoming speech, he pointed out the impressive development of Cotton made in Africa and Compaci. 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, one of the CmiA pioneers in the textile industry, explained how the company produces textiles whose value chain can be traced back to the growing region of CmiA cotton in Africa.
Growing interest among the international textile industry for Africa as a production location
For the first time, African textile producers like Ayka and Else from Ethiopia and Buetec from Cameroon attended the conference. They explained why 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 the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF).
The fashion show by upcycling label "Mima-te" from Mozambique was met with great enthusiasm. Twin sisters Nelly and Nelsa Guambe presented their exceptional modern vintage designs made from old clothes for the first time during a fashion show in Germany. Among the unique designs were also the first CmiA designs made from old CmiA clothes.
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that currently supports smallholder farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire. The focus lies on helping farmers help themselves Through trade so that they can improve their living conditions and that of their families.
Compaci was founded in 2005 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) to support smallholder farmers all over Sub-Saharan Africa to increase the productivity of the cotton production and thus their income, as well as to improve their living conditions.
Photos: Mima-te fashion show; Alamine Ousmane; Mima-te fashion show; T. Stridde (AbTF) with Nelly and Nelsa Guambe