The USAID Hub raised awareness of footwear sourcing from East Africa at the Fashion Footwear Association of New York’s (FFANY) trade show from November 29 and December 1, 2017, in New York City. Prior to the trade show, the USAID Hub organized an advertisement in the show’s directory, an email blast to attending footwear executives and an article in the December 2017 issue of Footwear Plus magazine to showcase East African footwear. Read it here on pages 18 and 19. USAID Hub technical advisors supported these efforts with an information booth on sourcing at the trade show and information on export-ready footwear firms in Kenya and Ethiopia.
The show and the USAID Hub’s technical assistance helped generate 31 leads – including a potential buyers mission for Kenyan sandals in early 2018 – for the eight participating Kenyan and Ethiopian companies. The companies estimate that the leads could generate $100,000 of initial orders, laying the foundation for win-win market linkages between East Africa and the U.S.
Ethiopia is a significant shoe producer and the top African exporter of shoes to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The country has been ramping up its footwear production, opening new factories, training workers and building the necessary infrastructure to ship goods fast. One of the country’s most attractive sourcing qualities is its speed to market. Kenya and other countries in the region are also revitalizing the leather and footwear industry to take advantage of export opportunities in the U.S., EU, regional and other international markets.
“Every new sourcing customer we bring into the country, every new factory we help open and every new pair of shoes we ship allows them to hire more workers and teach, train and develop their skills that betters the East African community socially, economically and spiritually,” says Hub‘s Footwear Export Advisor Jordan Saliman.