Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fashion Designers and Apparel Producers Capacitised

Posted by Modou S. Joof on March 11, 2010 at 12:45pm

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) To help enhance the export potential export of fashion designers and apparel producers the U.S. Embassy in The Gambia in partnership with the
USAID/ West Africa Trade Hub (WATH) in Accra
organized a two-day specialized training workshop to familiarize them with the
market requirement and the export process under America Growth and Opportunity
Act (AGOA).

The workshop which was held on Monday 22nd February, 2010 at Sheraton Hotel in Brufut covers topics like design, pattern making, cutting, production of finishing and packaging and other skills
required in apparel production.

Speaking at the workshop the minister of trade and industry Mr. Babucarr Jallow said The Gambia became eligible for the America Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2003 and
subsequently granted the apparel and textile visa in 2008. Mr. Jallow added
that his Ministry has worked in the last few years tireless with some partners
to make sure that Gambians exports to the US market substantially, noting that
AGOA initiative is a unique opportunity to make that feasible, given that the
U.S. has been offering preferential markets access to exports from eligible
sub-Saharan African countries for over 6000 product types.

Hon. Jallow also said, “You will agree with me that The Gambia private sector cannot do everything at once.” He commended the US Embassy for their support in offering Gambian entrepreneurs and complementing
Government’s efforts in capacitising the private sector.

The Trade minister indicated that the training would enhance practical expertise. He expressed optimism that the training would impact positively on the participants.

Minister Jallow further said that the American market has its quality requirements which call for hard work, diligence and dedication, noting that some of the neighbours are successfully exporting to U.S. market and
see no reason why The Gambia cannot push a little bit more.

He urged Gambians in the textile and apparel industry, to seize the moment to critically assess and challenge themselves.

“This is the only way to take the Gambian textile and appeal sector to the next level, where it can meet world class standards and be ready to supply any market”, he said. He
pointed out that there are some key areas that need to be addressed before we
can make any meaningful attempts at the US market. “We all know problems
that persist in the area of neat and acceptable finishing, consistent pattern
cutting, timely delivery of orders, dealing with large orders, just to name a
few” he stated.

For her part the deputy mission of the U.S. Embassy Cindy Gregg said this workshop is a fulfillment of a long-standing desire of the United States Embassy to assist the Gambian fashion designers and apparel
producers to improve production skills in a bid to ensure that their products
are competitive in the U.S.
market. She said that the training is not intended to teach them fashion as
it’s apparent that they already know and understand fashion. She added that the
training is part of their ongoing effort to help The Gambia maximize the
benefits from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which is the
cornerstone of U.S.
trade and investment policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. She revealed that since
2000, AGOA has broken down barriers to U.S.
markets and eliminated import duties on more than 6000 products, adding that it
is a vehicle for private sector-led growth that can improve the lives of
millions of men, women and children across Africa.

She said that The Gambia and United States have invested a grate effort in supplying them the tools they need to begin exporting to the international market. “We have provided you with two AGOA training sessions on
the products that are available for tax free trade with America, early
this year we conducted a business forum that provided the key ingredients to
launching, managing, and marking your businesses”, she said. She added that the
forum provided participants a tool kit on how to trade with the United States
under AGOA and a plan to help clarify the mystical process of exporting to
international markets.

Cindy said at the end of the training, West Africa Trade Hub will conduct interviews to determine who is export-ready and some of them will be selected to travel to Dakar
to visit Gora Atchj’s garment plant to see in practice what they will learn in
theory. In addition, she said the U.S. Embassy is planning to lead a delegation
of fashion designers and textile dealers to textile and sewn products industry
week in Atlanta, Georgia,
this coming May in an exhibition which will expose them to the high quality
fabric and the latest equipment and technology in apparel production. IVOL:3 ISSN:100

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