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USAID Hub supports East African apparel firms to become more competitive through social compliance

Published on October 11, 2018

U.S. textile and apparel buyers want to source from ethical, socially compliant companies. One way to demonstrate social compliance is by obtaining a Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certification. The USAID Hub is helping East African companies become more competitive for export by obtaining the WRAP certification.

“WRAP certification encompasses almost all the SDGS that the manufacturing sector in Kenya is aiming implement through Global Compact. Hence this accreditation is integral to promote sustainable manufacturing in a globalized society. Wrap will increasingly benefit Kenya manufacturing not only through accreditation to access world market through compliance, but also create a B2B platform for the compliant manufacturers and customers,” said Simon Wanjohi, Head of Policy Research and Advocacy, Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

The Hub’s Trade Promotion and AGOA team conducted three sensitization seminars from October 8-11 for East African apparel firms from Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Antananarivo, Madagascar. The workshops provided participants with the benefits, procedures and cost for obtaining WRAP certification. From November 2018 to March 2019, the Hub will provide direct support in the audit and WRAP certification process.

“This is a great initiative and an eye opener to the fact that it is possible to request and complete various certifications as a new factory. This has provided me with the opportunity to grow as Shona tapping into export potential professionally through getting certified and developing proper systems, policies and procedures at an early stage” said Isaac Maluki, Director, Shona EPZ limited
WRAP is a U.S.-based non-profit organization whose certification is generally accepted as a minimum standard for social compliance. WRAP certification is obtained through a process of (i)application to WRAP and payment of a registration fee, (ii) training of internal audit staff lead by a trained internal lead auditor, (iii)implementation of the required procedures and checks, (iv) conducting internal audits and finally (v) within six months of initial application, seeking a WRAP audit for certification. The audit is conducted by 3rd party audit firms accredited by WRAP, such as Intertek, VJN, and SGS.