The Zimbabwean textile industry requires at least $200 million in the short to medium term to recapitalize. About $50 million is required to support cotton farmers while the same amount is needed for plant upgrades. The textile sector also needs to recapitalize and restructure to achieve plant and technology upgrades to raise production capacity. The textile sector is a high volume, low margin business. It has to reduce production costs, upgrade technology and increase production capacity.
Zimbabwe’s textile sector at its peak employed about 51,000 people. But the numbers sharply reduced from 13,500 in 2009 to 12,506 in 2010, then to 8,627 in 2011 and to a mere 4,748 in 2012. The textile industry fared even worse than the clothing industry during the same period.
The textiles and clothing sub-sector is an important arm of the manufacturing sector. But there is need for the creation of an enabling business environment. Zimbabwe has major competitive advantages over other textile manufacturing countries. These include: proximity to the industry’s primary raw material cotton, skilled labor and a highly literate population.
Recovery and further development of the cotton chain has potential to strengthen industrialization in Zimbabwe in future. The country should create competitive advantages through legislation.