Fashion goods from Africa currently benefit from tariff free access to the UK market as a part of the EU trade policy, which makes them significantly cheaper than products imported from Asia. African goods have a 12 per cent advantage over Chinese items. As China transitions towards higher value-adds in manufacturing and services, the African textile industry has a chance to take a share.
However, the zero tariffs and zero quotas regimes are now at risk with Brexit. African countries want the UK to maintain the tariff free market access for their fashion products. As UK and European retailers and brands seek to innovate and strengthen their market position by diversifying existing supply chains, Africa provides a new source for ready-to-wear garments, shoes and fashion accessories.
The rapid growth in many African economies offers them opportunities for greater sustainability in their value chains. For retailers this can render value chains shorter, more manageable and more transparent, and will create new business opportunities.
Africa has a creative industries sector that adds value to natural resources rather than exporting them raw. This creates job, skills and livelihoods in African countries so that the benefits of production are shared among all those involved.