A transformative industry, building skills and infrastructure to accelerate the  industrialisation of the region

Africa still accounts for less than 1% of the global Textile and Apparel trade. The opportunity for expansion is great

Globally textiles and apparel generates more than $1.7 trillion annually and employs more than 300 million people. Thanks to preferential trade agreements, competitive manufacturing costs, improving infrastructure and locally available raw materials East Africa has become an increasingly attractive source destination for textiles and apparel.

Textile and Apparel is Msingi’s second focus industry for East Africa. Following a deep sector scoping exercise, Msingi chose this sector, because of its potential to create a large quantity of jobs, increase export earnings, and enable a technological transfer from more developed markets through foreign direct investment.

The textile and apparel sectors are credited for the industrialization of almost all countries. From western Europe to Asia, the sector has driven much of the technological advancement and social change that has seen economies going from low income to high (and middle) income. The sector is also a priority sector in the national development plans of the EAC countries, and as a regional block.

Most EAC countries see this sector as a route to add value to cotton and reduce reliance on second hand clothing, but through analysis of global trends in the industry, Msingi EA sees an opportunity to address these pain points while positioning the EAC to capture a share of the lucrative global market.

Whilst the industry is experiencing disruption thanks to technological advancement, there are still areas where countries such as the EAC block, can find their comparative advantage and leverage the sector to industrialize and create jobs for the millions of youth that enter the job market annually.

Recent changes in global consumption trends, especially with millennials, are shifting the way certain goods are produced. Customization, shorter style runs and demand for more variety, are seeing some near shoring and onshoring within the value chain, but industry analysts estimate that these factors will affect 10% of the production base.

The whole industry though, is being affected by rising concerns of its impact on the environment. Traceability, sustainability and good production practices are increasingly being demanded by consumers, meaning the industry is cleaning up.

Why Textiles & Apparel

  • It can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and improve incomes in the region.
  • The natural resources required for aquaculture such as clean fresh water, are in abundance
  • Commercial aquaculture in the region is young but the private sector shows dynamism and a keenness to invest.
  • There is increasing political buy-in.
  • There are strong opportunities for technology transfer and

“The textile and clothing industry can drive Africa’s industrial transformation and create some of the millions of jobs  we need.”

Africa Development Bank, 2018

Potential Industry Impact

















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Are you excited to be a part of how economic development will happen in East Africa?

We invite others to partner with us to drive economic and social change through a systemic and coordinated approach to industrial development while protecting the region’s rich natural capital.