(Photo: The Hub's Chief of Party and Acting Trade Promotion Director brief Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome on the USAID Hub program and trade opportunities.)
The two-year-old Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week (ASFW) is gaining momentum. This year’s four-day African trade and investment event drew 230 international exhibitors from the textile and apparel value chain, and home decor, accessories and footwear sectors. A big reason for ASFW’s success is its location -- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is leading the charge of East African countries wooing foreign investment in it manufacturing sectors. Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome launched ASFW with statements of government commitment to building infrastructure to enable industrial growth. He cited the nearly finished railway to Djibouti and upcoming green industrial parks as examples of that commitment.
The private sector is listening. The U.S.-based global apparel company PVH Corporation recently led the charge on a massive new vertically integrated, green industrial park in Hawassa, Ethiopia. Apparel products are already starting to ship from the numerous apparel companies that set up shop there.
The director for the leading global trade fair organizer, Messe Frankfurt, summarized the attraction of ASFW in Ethiopia. “We like to be close to the industry, so we are here.”
The Hub supported ASFW as a gold sponsor and hosted five enterprises in its East African pavilion. It also hosted two panel discussions – one on investment in East Africa and another on accelerating U.S.-Africa trade through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (ASFW). The Hub is dedicated to boosting trade and investment in East Africa, particularly through AGOA. Its participation in ASFW is one of many ways the Hub is helping link U.S. and international buyers to East African manufacturers for win-win trade relationships.