First Ethiopia, then South Africa and Morocco – Messe Frankfurt is now looking at African continent for textile trade fairs. Demographic change and growing economy in Africa are impacting the textile industry. With the two trade fairs Maroc in Mode and Maroc Sourcing, the leader for textile trade fairs has expanded its presence in North West Africa.
“In future, our network will extend across important textile regions in Africa and encompass the leading trade fairs on the emerging continent,” explains Olaf Schmidt, vice president Textiles and Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. “With our commitment to Ethiopia, South Africa and, in future, Morocco, we have created excellent conditions to support the positive developments in Africa’s textile industry.”
Demographic change, increasing urbanisation and shifts in economic forces – these global developments are promoting the growth of the African economy and having a significant impact on the textile industry. According to the UN Economic Report on Africa 2017, Africa has the fastest growing population. The current population of around 1.2 billion people will more than double by 2050. The number of working people on the African continent is also increasing rapidly. The largest working population (1.1 billion) in the world is predicted to be in Africa by 2034. These demographic changes are causing personal and business consumption to increase sharply, and this will primarily benefit regional economic markets.
Morocco in particular offers great potential for the clothing trade: Morocco’s proximity to important fashion markets such as the EU and the USA, various free trade agreements and a recent economic growth rate of four per cent create a secure business climate. The Maroc in Fashion and Maroc Sourcing trade fairs, which have been in existence since 2014, currently showcase around 120 exhibitors from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, China and a number of Western European countries. The extensive product portfolio inspires with its strong expertise in fashion. The trade fairs are regarded as a hotspot for fast fashion and not only present fashion, denim, lingerie and knitwear, but also sports and casualwear, workwear and accessories. Messe Frankfurt will agree on a cooperation with AMITH (Association Marocaine des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement), the organiser of the event, for the next edition. The trade fair took place during October 26-27, 2017 in Marrakesh.
South Africa is the continent’s strongest economic power and one of the largest consumer markets. The countryhas the most powerful retail sector and is the best networked of all African countries. This international networking and its regional free trade agreements make South Africa an important hub for trade with other African countries as well as neighbouring Pacific countries such as the Arabian Peninsula and India.
With the recently approved takeover of the Source Africa and ATF fairs, Messe Frankfurt is driving the exchange between international and regional buyers, manufacturers and suppliers in this region. Source Africa was founded in 2014 as a trade fair for African producers of fabrics, accessories, clothing, shoes and leather items. It appeals not only to African trade buyers but also to international manufacturers of clothing and fashion. The fifth edition of the fair will take place during June 20-21, 2018 in Cape Town. ATF Expo will be held at the same venue during November 21-23, 2017. Ever since 1998, this trade fair has offered an internationally-oriented product range of fabrics, clothing, shoes, leather goods and accessories as well as services for a predominantly local and regional purchasing community.
In eastern Africa, Ethiopia has developed into an attractive contract manufacturing country for clothing and leather goods thanks to the government’s strategy of focusing on light industry. Ethiopia also benefits from free trade agreements such as AGOA that are aimed at promoting the African economy. With the Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week (ASFW), Messe Frankfurt has had a strong partner at its side ever since the latest edition in October 2017.
Offshoots of the three trade fair brands Texworld, Apparel Sourcing and Texprocess were integrated into the Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week for the first time. It is a sourcing platform for mainly European and US fashion companies. The seventh edition brought together around 200 international exhibitors from 25 countries in Addis Ababa. Clothing fabrics, contract manufacturing, fashion and accessories were exhibited as well as machinery for contract manufacturing, CAD/CAM systems, printers, printing inks and accessories. In addition, the trade fair also impressed visitors with a fashion show, a series of lectures, a trend section and a matchmaking platform.