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Africa looms emerges strong as sourcing destination

Bangladesh is seen as a top sourcing destination but Africa looks likely to emerge as a serious competitor. Right now sub-Saharan Africa has only a 0.56 per cent share of the total global capacity of apparel exports. A significant proportion of buyers are preparing to reduce their sourcing from China, where in recent years, production costs have gone up because of rising labor costs. They are glancing at Ethiopia and Kenya as potential choices. Some 40 per cent of buyers say sub-Saharan Africa will become more significant to the clothing business in the next five years in contrast to 24 per cent who said this in 2013.

Sourcing from sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rise almost tenfold by 2020, from 0.3 per cent to 2.8 per cent. As of now, Bangladesh is the second biggest apparel exporter after China. Bangladesh has a five per cent share in world apparel exports but China has a 39 per cent share. Bangladesh feels that African countries will take time to pose competition as they have yet to make a serious beginning. In the meantime the country is building on its strengths. Apparently the retailers’ groupings Accord and Alliance have certified more than 98 per cent of factories in Bangladesh as safe and capable of continuing operations.