18 of 2018

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Newsletter No. 18                                                                                     18 May  2018

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US-Africa trade created 60,000 jobs in Africa: USAID

Trade relations between US and Africa has created over 60,000 jobs in the continent, according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The agency said that it is committed to provide the required assistance to African nations for development through investments and trade and the US government’s intervention has yielded substantial results.

Alex Deprez, mission director for West Africa, USAID, said that the agency has worked towards increasing trading activities between the US and Ghana, and created multiple opportunities in the African country. He added that USAID has successfully brought in $300 million in new finance and close to $1 billion under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) exports.

A US-Ghanaian joint venture in the apparel sector that was founded in 2014, has employed over 1,500 workers, a majority of them being women. It has exported close to 6 million garments to the US under AGOA, said Deprez while speaking at an AGOA workshop on capacity building and skill development in Accra. The mission director also said that USAID offers support for vocational training and finance and are expecting such units to quickly expand their numbers. Such firms are also expected to come up in other African countries like Benin, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’lvoire.

West Africa has an emerging middle class constituting over 70 million people and thus presents huge trade and investment opportunities for African firms, said Ghanaian media reports quoting Deprez. He added that regional barriers need to be broken down to tap these opportunities F2F

Kenya’s AGOA exports decline 4.65% in 2017

Kenya’s exports of goods to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) declined by 4.65 per cent or Ksh1.6 billion ($15.9 million) in 2017. The exports, mainly textile items, fell from Ksh34.4 billion ($343.3 million) in 2016 to Ksh32.8 billion ($327.3 million) last year, Kenyan media reports said quoting Economic Survey released last week.

Capital investment too dropped last year by 14.1 per cent. “The value of exports reduced for a second consecutive year… with capital investment reducing to Ksh14.2 billion ($141.7 million) in 2017,” the Survey said.

AGOA exports constituted 60 per cent of all Kenyan goods shipped to the US in 2017. Textile and apparel products continue to dominate Kenyan exports under the AGOA since it was enacted in 2000.

AGOA was last extended in June 2015 for ten years till 2025, including third-country fabric provisions. F2F

SACTWU settles General Goods and Handbags leather sector wage negotiations

The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has settled its 2018 wage negotiations for the General Goods & Handbags (GGH) leather sector.

The settlement was negotiated under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Leather Manufacturing Industry of South Africa.

An 8% wage increase has been agreed to, with the Association of South African Manufacturers of Luggage, Handbags & General Goods, which is the organisation representing employers in the sector.

The wage increase will come into effect nationally on 1 July 2018 and is effective for a one year period thereafter, following which a new wage agreement will be negotiated.

This sector covers approximately 2000 workers.

Issued by Andre Kriel, SACTWU, General Secretary

If further comment is required, kindly contact SACTWU’s National Negotiator for the GGH sector, Jane Kastoor on contact phone number 021 447 4570 or 063 418 1869.

Stoll and Myant come out with a Digital Textile Factory

Courtesy Stoll

Stoll, Germany’s leading 3D knitting machinery company, and Myant, Canada’s leading textile computing company, have unveiled a Digital Textile Factory, building foundations for mass application of Textile Computing, an industry which uses engineering and material science to provide textile-based solutions for companies aiming to connect textiles to IoT.

Stoll’s 140+ years of producing 3D knitting machinery and software, transferring textile knowledge, and establishing ‘Knitelligence,’ or knitting innovation, along with Myant’s proprietary technology related to biometric sensing and actuation via textile combine to deliver valuable solutions for partners and customers at a global scale through an accessible virtual network.

The Digital Textile Factory will give entrepreneurs, innovators and established industry players access to a virtual factory for ideation, research and development, and design and manufacturing at scale. In so doing, this initiative will propagate and democratise advanced manufacturing techniques and access to the most advanced textile computing machinery in the world. The Digital Textile Factory will also help establish and export standards related to textile computing and its use as a platform across industries.

Tony Chahine, chief executive officer and founder of Myant, says, “Our position at the intersection of material science, advanced manufacturing and the digital world allows Myant, in partnership with Stoll, to catalyse growth across all industries that ultimately want to create bidirectional pathways between end users and the world around them.”

Chahine adds, “I truly believe that the Digital Textile Factory will guide large and small companies alike from a single idea through research and development, rapid prototyping and onto production. When we combine Myant’s technological capabilities with STOLL’s most innovative robotic 3D knitting machines,  we are able to integrate technology into textiles with sensors and actuators. Doing so creates a platform for innovation and disruption across major industries including healthcare, transportation and wellness, just to name a few, that will eventually define the future of textiles.”

“We believe in a model where manufacturing is geographically distributed to satisfy local needs, this is at the core of our collaboration with Stoll,” Chahine says.

Andreas Schellhammer, chief executive officer of Stoll states, “We are working on the solution to a global manufacturing and production problem. Our collaboration with Myant strategically integrates textiles and electronics. The Digital Textile Factory’s purpose will be to tackle quality assurance, validation testing, and localised production – for which custom projects can be sent to an encrypted cloud system that can produce textile computing products worldwide.”

The Digital Textile Factory of Myant and Stoll will set a universal standard for distribution across various industries including, but not limited to, automotive, health and wellness, industrial, agrotech, lifestyle, gaming, apparel, medical, military and aerospace, and safety. F2F

Did you know……..

Bullet, Torpedo, Cone Bras

While best remembered on Madonna, the cone bra made its first appearance well before the ‘material girl’ in the 1940s. But before Madge wore it outside her clothing, women typically wore it under tight clinging t-shirts and sweaters to accentuate their breasts and form the famous “Sweater Girl” look.

These types of bras were made of nylon and were usually ironed by women to retain their shape. However, the trend declined in the 60s as the more ‘au natural’ look gained appeal.

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