In this exclusive interview, we had the privilege of speaking with Marco Salvadè, President of ACIMIT (Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers), as he shared valuable insights into the collaborative efforts and strategies for supporting the growth of the textile industry in Africa. With a focus on the role of European governments and textile machinery manufacturers, as well as ACIMIT’s initiatives, this interview sheds light on the opportunities and challenges in expanding the textile sector on the African continent. Discover how these stakeholders are working together to drive sustainable development and technological innovation in the global textile industry.
KTJ: What activities can European governments take to support the growth of the textile industry in Africa?
MS: The best way for the European Union to help the African textile industry is to develop policies to involve African Countries in the value chain of the textile and apparel industry. An example is well represented by the SwitchMed initiative, funded by the European Union and implemented, among others, by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Within the framework of SwitchMed together with local actors and international brands, UNIDO is setting up a scheme to identify opportunities for valorizing post-industrial and pre-consumer waste streams from the textile and garment industries in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. In addition, UNIDO is cooperating with the ZDHC foundation to establish local capacities that can assist the textile and garment producers in phasing-out hazardous chemicals from their value chain. This project is just an example of a best practice to boost the T&A industry in Africa.
KTJ: How European textile machinery manufacturers can contribute to the expansion of the textile industry in Africa
MS: The textile technology makes it possible to carry out all projects designed to develop African industry. Here again we can be helped by an example, describing what the Italian textile machinery industry did in developing the Egyptian cotton industry.
Indeed, some Italian manufacturers are collaborating with the Holding Company for Cotton, Spinning, Weaving and Garments (CSWG), a textile company fully controlled by the Egiptian Ministry of Finance, to provide suitable technologies to modernize the Egyptian cotton process.
This operation was possible thanks to support of SACE, the Italian Export Credit Agency that guaranteed the financing of the project. SACE, operating in many African Countries, allows textile companies to obtain medium- and long-term financing to purchase textile machinery. Participating in the development of important projects in the African textile industry sector, in which Made in Italy represents internationally recognized excellence, is a goal of the entire Italian textile machinery sector.
KTJ: Is there any specific support provided by ACIMIT for the African market
MS: ACIMIT pays close attention to the development of the textile industry in Africa. The continent is as attractive to Italian textile machinery manufacturers as it is to several international apparel brands that are developing production hubs in the area.
ACIMIT, in collaboration with Italian Trade Agency (ITA), has thus organized several promotional activities directed to make textile operators in different African Countries aware of our sector, mainly through the organization of “incoming mission” of some representatives of textile companies to Italy.
We can also remind the delegations brought by ACIMIT and ITA to the last ITMA 2023 from Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa. And soon thanks to support of ITA some Italian textile machinery manufacturers will exhibit in the Italian pavilion at the ITME AFRICA 2023, to be held in Nairobi (Kenya) from November 30 to December 2.