TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US Provides Aid Towards COMESA Garment Centre

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi)

The US Government has committed Sh2.6 billion to support textile exporters under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Through the US Agency for International Development (USAid), the US government will build a manufacturing training centre in Kenya to cater for eight African countries within the Comesa region.

Speaking in Nairobi yesterday during a one-day seminar, US top officials led by Greg Howe, the USAid Regional Sector Advisor, said the centre would help build competitiveness among players to enable them compete in an aggressive global textile trade.

"We as a government will support the initiative and we have already identified a 25 acre plot in the Athi River-based Export Processing Zones (EPZ) to host the centre," said Trade and Industry minister Mukhisa Kituyi,.

Kituyi, who presided over the workshop meant to compile details of the proposed center, said lack of competitiveness in the sector was a major concern.

The minister said 2,000 textile workers at the EPZs lose their jobs every month to stiff competition in the global textile trade.

He further revealed that in the last four months, six EPZ companies have relocated to China and India, the two countries that are tipped to benefit from free trade in textiles. "We are facing a crisis in the sector and the Government is holding meetings with industry players to identify areas that we can intervene," he said.

Though the full effect of the abolition of a global quotas regime on January 1 are yet to be felt, there are fears that more jobs could be lost in coming months.

Already, most companies have scaled down their operations as a result of these concerns.

Kituyi, however, said the poor road network, inefficient port services and slow custom clearance procedure are affecting trade at the free zones.

"We are holding discussions as a Government to try and resolve these issues because the reforms suggested are not working as fast as we expected," Kituyi said.

Exports to the US under Agoa have helped expand production in the free zones where over 30,000 jobs have been created in the last four years.

Value of exports to the US market has also increased from Sh4 billion in 2001 to Sh17 billion last year.

A feasibility study conducted by the US-Africa Trade and Aid Link Corporation for USAid indicates that the whole supply chain in the textile industry within Comesa countries was inefficient.

"The eight Agoa eligible countries are currently unable to produce technical, fashionable and high quality garments due to the low level of technical expertise," says the report presented by Trevor Little, a professor of textile and apparel management at a US university.

View related news articles

Zambia: ‘Regional integration vital for growth’

Zambia: ‘Regional integration vital for growth’

Zambia will continue strengthening its participation in regional economic integration and trade investment platforms because the agenda will promote the country’s industrialisation efforts, a senior Government official has said. Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame also said there is need for continued private sector sensitisation on...

14 October, 2016
COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

Zambia commerce permanent secretary Kayula Siame says intra-COMESA trade continues to face challenges despite the available instruments designed to improve integration. And COMESA assistant secretary general Dr Kipyego Cheluget says Zambia is among countries that have not exploited the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Speaking during the official opening of the...

31 August, 2016
COMESA: AGOA-US exports swell to $17 billion

COMESA: AGOA-US exports swell to $17 billion

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) exports to America under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has amounted to US$17 billion. The exports through the COMESA eligible countries amounted to $17.3 billion by November 2015. COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said the United States-COMESA Trade and Investments Framework Agreement (TIFA) provides...

08 February, 2016
US urges Zambia to diversify

US urges Zambia to diversify

The US government says the recent slump in copper prices serves as a timely reminder for Zambia to diversify its economy. US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz says serious efforts must be taken to shift the economy to agriculture, tourism and power generation. Speaking when he officiated at the eighth US-COMESA consultative trade meeting, Ambassador Shultz also urged member...

08 February, 2016
COMESA reportedly unhappy with poor trade with US

COMESA reportedly unhappy with poor trade with US

Africa’s main regional trade bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), on Tuesday expressed concerns over its low share of trade with the United States despite the two sides having signed economic development agreements. The COMESA said it was unfortunate that both of its export and import with the U.S. remain low. The value of trade between the...

24 February, 2015
Zambia: Government, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports

Zambia: Government, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports

The Government in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has put in place a committee which will look at ways and means of increasing exports to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) market in the United States of America(USA). Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga said there were a number of issues that needed to be...

21 May, 2014