Two clusters in Zimbabwe—one each of leather and textile sectors—have recorded over $36,600 in profits during the pandemic period.
The textile cluster is located in Chitungwiza, south of capital Harare, while the leather cluster is in Bulawayo. The clusters changed tack and produced essential products like face masks for use during the pandemic.
This was in addition to their customary school uniforms and sportswear production.
Adjustment Facility (CAF) Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM), which is funded by the European Union. In the first phase of the disbursement of funds, Zimbabwe got €4.2 million through a grant agreement signed in September 2014 between the government and COMESA.
At the onset of the pandemic, the textile cluster switched to manufacture products which required readily available raw materials and COVID personal protective products. In majority of cases, the customers would provide the materials with the clusters doing the manufacturing. The total value of textile produced during the period is estimated at $16,600, according to a press release from COMESA.
The leather cluster has also continued to thrive, producing an array of products ranging from formal shoes, school shoes, sandals and leather belts. Within the pandemic period, the cluster has produced goods worth $20,000, with Namibia being one of the export destination for school shoes.
During the first two phases of the lockdown, which were stricter, the government of Zimbabwe designated the clusters as essential services. This enabled them to open and operate while adhering to the required health protocols.