More than 50 African companies traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada in mid-February to participate in the premier U.S. apparel trade show, Sourcing at MAGIC. The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub sponsored eight companies, including companies from Madagascar, which recently regained its African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) status and is hoping to return to its position as a top AGOA exporter.
“The quality of the U.S. buyers attending was excellent. Big box retailers and high-profile brands such as Target, J Crew, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren and Levi's visited the Africa Pavilion and expressed interest in sourcing from East Africa,” said Finn Holm-Olsen, East Africa Trade and Investment Hub Director of Trade Promotion and AGOA.
To capitalize on the interest shown at MAGIC, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub is planning buyers’ missions over the coming year to allow U.S. companies to connect directly with the East African companies that can meet their demand for high-quality apparel. U.S companies are increasingly looking to East Africa to meet their sourcing needs, broadening their sourcing portfolio beyond traditional Far East markets.
East African companies are enthusiastic for U.S. companies to visit and ready to produce. "There is a lot of promise and a lot work to do!,” said Bill Hulburt, Sales Manager at Flexknit Madagascar.