1 of 2019

           Newsletter No. 01                                                      18 January 2019


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South African Government–funded programme revives cotton industry.

A R200-million programme by South Africa has successfully revived the country’s cotton industry by unlocking private sector investments and buying power worth hundreds of millions. The programme, known as Sustainable Cotton Cluster and funded by the department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will end in March, when a decision will be taken on its extension.

One such investment is the R72-million Loskop Cotton ginnery outside Marble Hall in Limpopo, which has just started operating and will enable further cotton production in the region and offer employment to local people.

Further industry investments have been made in another ginnery as well as 11 cotton strippers and 24 cotton pickers. These big machines cost up to R10 million each.

The programme started five years ago with in-depth research to determine the demand, the state of each element in the whole supply chain and ways of optimising production, according to South African media reports.

When retailers got on board the programme, funding became much more readily available and as a result, cotton production has grown from 25 000 bales of lint in 2013 to more than 200 000 bales in the past season.

The number of small-scale farmers in the Marble Hall area alone grew from not more than 10 to 240.

The cluster has also promoted and trained producers in the sustainable principles and methods of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and 40 per cent of the cotton farmers are now BCI licensed.

For the past season 32 per cent of the lint bales are BCI-compliant, which is of further appeal to the global cotton market.

For retailers supporting the local industry, however, it makes absolute sense as it would mean more flexibility to adjust to fashion trends and market demand, which reduces risk.

The one factor that currently limits growth in production is the availability of funding, especially for small-scale farmers who rent communal land. F2F



Edgars campaign celebrates self-expression and creative collaboration

As part of Edgars’ refreshed branding strategy, the department store chain is collaborating more with South African creatives. The recently released Sho Madjozi Collection is one of the fruits of the new approach.

A creative collaboration between Edgars and rapper, writer, actress and fashion icon Sho Madjozi, the collection is an eclectic mix of traditional print and colour influences mixed with 90s inspired fashion and Sho Madjozi’s own personal style elements. The artist is seen wearing some of her collection in the new Edgars ‘music-video-like’ TV commercial – in which she also performs a song she co-created with Edgars.

Amongst some of the creative collaborators joining Sho Madjozi are DJ Arch Junior of South Africa’s Got Talent fame, writer and female activist Siphokazi Veti, Top Billing presenter Jonathan Boynton-Lee, comedian Tsi Tsi Chiumya, hair artist and stylist Nikiwe Dlova and make-up mavens Kay Ngonyama and Jessica van Heerden.

Customisation zones

The retailer has also introduced Edgars Custom Zones, in-store customisation kiosks allowing shoppers to express themselves through services like printing, embroidery, badging, engraving, etching and rip and repair. The kiosks are essentially creative stations where shoppers can customise any product to make it unique.

Edgars Custom Zones cater for several services across an assortment of products in Edgars ranging from clothing, footwear, and accessories through to jewellery, homeware, and even fragrances. Your quote of the moment can be splashed across a new tee, jeans can be strategically ripped, bracelets can be embossed, badges can be placed on bags, hats, lapels, denim jackets. You can personalise fragrance bottles with engravings and etchings, have towels embroidered, and customise gifts with your own poems.

Own the look

“We’re giving people the freedom and the space to define themselves like never before,” says Edgars CEO Mike Elliott. “We live in a world where consumers have the absolute freedom to choose exactly what they want to hear, exactly what they want to read, and exactly what they want to watch … why should fashion or beauty or décor be any different? South Africa is the single most exciting and expressive place in the world right now, and as a brand, Edgars is celebrating that on every level.”

Elliott continues: “The way we did things yesterday no longer works for our consumer. The consumers of today have a growing need to feel connected and to express themselves in their own highly individualistic ways. As a brand, we owe it to our consumers to be not just relevant, but to be culturally relevant too. Our newly enhanced brand – more particularly, our “own the look” campaign – is driven by a diversity of everyday people who are all culture creators in their own inspiring ways.”

The Sho Madjozi Collection launched mid-December and is available in 22 stores around the country as well as online. Bizcommunity

Continental free trade area to boost e-com in Africa

Opportunities abound for Africa to engage in and benefit from e-commerce and the digital economy as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into force, as discussed at the UNCTAD Africa E-commerce Week in Nairobi. UNCTAD secretary-general said that global e-commerce has grown phenomenally, but even so, it remained constrained.

The high-level dialogue on trade and the digital economy in Africa addressed challenges such as the persisting infrastructure gap and the digital divide, inadequate regulatory and institutional frameworks, a weak enabling environment, and limited skills of both producers and consumers of digital products.

More than 1,000 participants from 48 countries shared their experiences and success stories for leveraging e-commerce for the development of African economies.

The session, organised by UNCTAD, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Union, was moderated by Julie Gichuru, founder and chief executive officer of Arimus Media, and broadcast on YouTube and Facebook.

“It’s very clear that e-commerce and the digital economy do not happen by accident but as a result of purposeful actions. Governments must create a policy framework, invest in the right skills, protect the integrity of payment systems, and construct roads and delivery networks,” UNCTAD secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi.

European commissioner for the Digital Single Market and vice president of the European Commission Andrus Ansip said that it was important that mistakes made in the European Union were not copied in Africa. “Affordable connectivity is the first precondition of building the digital economy, he said. Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was now seen as a model of how to protect personal data online.”

Ansip said that Africa was full of creativity and it was important for governments on the continent to retain its entrepreneurs.

Stephen Karingi, director of the Capacity Development Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said the African continental free area, foreseen by the AfCFTA, will require half of Africa to obtain a legal identity. This was a prerequisite of forming well-functioning e-commerce markets, he said.

“The continental free trade area will offer opportunities of scale and the free movement of people, goods and services,” he said.

“There is a massive upscaling of citizens and governments needed to move from an analogue to a digital world. Digitalisation is actually a form of democratization and returns agency from states to people. Africa is in a good place because it is full of entrepreneurs,” Claire Messina, deputy executive director of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

“Drinking water, roads, democracy – all of them deserve your attention, but Africans have the same dreams as people in my country, Estonia. We have made it. It is possible! You have to believe that you can be the best in the world,” added Mes   sina. F2F

Did you know……..

Makeup has been used by women since before Cleopatra’s time. They would use berries and other fruits to give their faces some color.

Chanel No. 5 marked the beginning of modern perfume in 1921.

If a woman had short hair a hundred years ago, people thought she was being unfaithful to her husband


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