8. CmiA and COMPACI Stakeholder Conference in Cologne
Making African cotton competitive and providing a sustainable basis for people and nature are the goals of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and COMPACI (Competitive African Cotton Initiative). Over 150 experts across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries attended this year’s Stakeholder Conference from September 24–26th in Cologne. The discussions focused on issues such as tapping new markets for African cotton and thus securing income for cotton farmers as well as establishing a textile value chain in Africa.
Host of the conference opening event was DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. Philipp Kreutz, member of the Management Board of DEG, pointed out the impressive development of Cotton made in Africa and COMPACI in his welcoming speech and stressed, “DEG is proud to have been given the opportunity as a founding member of COMPACI to support this process from the beginning.” Alamine Ousmane, the acting Minster of Finance in Cameroon, emphasized the importance of cotton production for the West African country and praised CmiA for its work. Andreas Söffker, Managing Director of Gerhard Rösch GmbH was invited as additional guest speaker. A pioneer in the textile industry, the company produces textiles whose value chain can be traced back to the growing region of CmiA cotton in Africa. The fashion show by the Mozambican upcycling label “Mima-te” was met with great enthusiasm. Twin sisters Nelly and Nelsa Guambe presented for the first time their exceptional modern vintage designs made from old clothes during a fashion show in Germany. Among the unique designs were the first CmiA dresses made from old CmiA clothes.
For the first time, some manufacturers such as Ayka and Else from Ethiopia and Buetec from Cameroon took part in the meeting. They made clear that Africa is being discovered more and more by the textile industry as a production location. “The opportunity to be able to produce within a country from the cotton field to the finished garment, establish a sustainable foundation for textile production, and to discover growing sales opportunities locally makes African countries attractive to the American and European market,” said Jas Bedi, Managing Director of African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF). The group of experts agreed that Cotton made in Africa can lay the foundation for a sustainable textile industry in Africa. A further developed textile industry could be a great opportunity for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.