Textile and apparel manufacturers in Kenya and Nigeria are pinning their hopes on government policies and incentives for the revival of the industry. The African textile sector is among oldest in the world with highly skilled workers but the industry lost its pride due to several reasons and currently it is faced with several challenges.
The reduction of import duty to zero per cent on all synthetic, acrylic, polyester and high ferocity yarns from 10 per cent in 2010-11 is one of the initiatives by Kenya to create more employment and improve export earnings. Most textiles and apparels meant for exports are produced at the Export Processing Zones in Kenya. With the end of the multi fibre agreement in 2005, export-oriented firms have been on the downturn due to unfair competition and loss of orders.
Nigeria has the largest textile industry in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa. The sector directly employed about 3,00,000 people and was capable of producing over 1.5 billion linear mt. of fabrics. But it currently employs only 25,000 direct employees and produces less than 250 million linear mt of fabrics. Now Nigeria plans to impose a higher tariff on imported fabrics to discourage imports and it will also come out with a package of incentives for local manufacturers.