From October 23 to 25 the seventh stakeholder conference of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) took place at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. More than 100 experts from industry, politics, and society accepted the invitation of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), the German Investment and Development Company (DEG) and the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the initiators of CmiA and Compaci. Together, they discussed topics such as measuring the effect of the work of CmiA and COMPACI, the CmiA sustainability criteria, new market opportunities for CmiA cotton, and the newly introduced CmiA-organic standard.
The focus of the debate also involved the topic “African textile production and sales opportunities in Africa”. Speaker Jaswinder Bedi, president of the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), currently sees great potential for the sector in Africa and emphasized: “The African textile industry must reinvent itself in terms of quality and develop bigger interest in the local market. Trade within Africa provides a great opportunity.” In addition to representatives from the World Wild Fund for Nature, Ernsting’s family, or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, representatives from the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development gathered at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Particular highlights of the three-day conference were the fashion show by CmiA partner Vlisco who presented their colorful African designs and a visit to a vertically integrated textile factory. Thereby, most participants were able to gain new insights into the African textile industry and fashion scene in addition to the discussions about these topics.
Traditionally, the partner organizations hold the meeting annually to share new approaches and discuss ideas with their stakeholders and provide an opportunity to learn from each other. Every two years, the conference takes place on the African continent.