‘Textile Exchange 2021,’, a business to business platform, saw more than 250 participants at its two-day virtual expo that concluded on Saturday.
Hosted by Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC), jointly with India ITME Society, the exchange was for Indian and east African textile businesses to network and capitalise on marketing opportunities.
S. Hari Shankar, chairman of India ITME Society, said that the platform enabled buyers and sellers to interact. Africa is a rapidly growing market and there are opportunities for buyers and sellers to present their businesses, showcase products, connect and network with relevant partners. “It (the platform) will focus on machinery, fibre, yarn, fabric, trimmings and accessories. It extends opportunities to both, buyers and sellers. India’s textile and apparel sector is undergoing structural changes to retain its competitiveness. The pandemic has thrown open supply chain and logistics challenges and we should make this challenge into opportunity,” he said.
According to a press release, over 700 business to business (B2B) meetings were planned. Close to 250 businesses from Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda used the Textiles Exchange platform to present their company’s products, source inputs, exchange knowledge, ideas and technology, and create vibrant business networks in the process.
Govind Venuprasad, co-ordinator of SITA, said, “Covid-19 pandemic with ensuing travel restrictions has limited opportunities to network through physical trade fairs and exhibitions. This has been to the detriment of business and trade…SITA is attempting to fill the gap through virtual means, by hosting this online trade fair for the textile sectors of India and east Africa.”
Kanzayire Theopiste, chairperson of Apparel Manufacturing Group (AMG) of Rwanda, highlighted access to finance as a major challenge for the group’s members, 99% of whom were women. Anda Valla, SITA project officer, explained about SITA’s Access to Finance guide that seeks to address this problem, the press release said.
Majority of the east African delegates to the programme were women. Sheena Frida from the Kenyan Fashion Council emphasised the timeliness of the Textiles Exchange event, since the sector has been particularly badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.