AAFA Participates in Source Africa

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Source Africa 2013Arlington, VA—The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) kicked off participation Tuesday in Source Africa, the inaugural trade show for the textile, apparel, and footwear industry of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Presented by LTE South Africa and supported by the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub, Source Africa is being held April 9 to 12 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

“For many in the U.S. apparel and footwear industry, Africa remains a viable option for new and emerging sourcing opportunities,” said Steve Lamar, AAFA executive vice president. “AAFA is pleased to be involved with Source Africa as we begin a comprehensive discussion about operational best practices and opportunities for growth to benefit both the U.S. and African textile, apparel, and footwear industries.  The three business seminars AAFA is presenting during Source Africa will help provide a real boost to companies interested in Southern Africa as a sourcing option.”

The AAFA seminars will address why sourcing from Africa makes sense, explain what buyers expect from Africa, and highlight investment opportunities in the region. The sessions will cover several topics which are vital to AAFA’s members including compliance and proper environmental stewardship and best practices, labeling, product safety, and customs barriers.

According to Lamar, the three seminars include:

1. Customs, Logistics, Transportation—Focusing on the practicalities of getting a product to consumers once it is manufactured as well as getting raw materials to the factories.  The panel will discuss obstacles related to infrastructure and transportation and best practices in addressing these issues.  Other key points include speed-to-market realities and how to deal with customs clearance with a special focus on Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility and benefits.

2. Building a Responsible Brand—Focusing on social issues within factories and Southern Africa in general, the panel will discuss sustainability and social responsibility issues such as environmental impact, treatment of labor, and cultural sensitivity, as well as methods for disclosing this information along a transparent supply chain. This second session is also the perfect opportunity to contemplate the phrase our industry has heard from multiple brands: “we are in Africa because it is the right thing to do.”  How can brands pull these social issues into their marketing and their reputation in foreign markets?

3. The Hows and Whys of Doing Business in Southern Africa—Everyone attending the final seminar is here because they either are interested in or already are doing business in Southern Africa.  Now is the time to examine how to do so successfully.  With experts in the fields of business and product compliance, this session will explore best practices for foreign buyers looking to source products from Southern African, as well as guidance for local manufacturers on how to be compliant with regulations of foreign markets when creating goods for export.  Furthermore, for those companies who wish to remain within the region, the panel will discuss the benefits and challenges of the retail market in South Africa and surrounding countries.

About Source Africa

The Source Africa event will show off the quality, creativity, reliability, and sophistication of textile and apparel manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa to a global audience of buyers, industry professionals, and service providers. The event, which takes place April 9 to 12 in Cape Town,  features country collection pavilions as the centerpiece of more than 125 African exhibitors of workwear, childrenswear, menswear, womenswear, jeans, trims, and accessories manufacturers interested in growing their exports. Source Africa will bring together industry leaders and decision makers from across Africa, Europe, and the United States providing opportunities to network with international buyers and African manufacturers as well as build an Africa presence. It includes two days of exhibition, matchmaking program, factory site visits, and business seminars. www.sourceafrica.co.za.