Major brands are sourcing apparel from Ethiopia and Kenya.
Major brands, such as U.K.-based George (part of Walmart), Sweden-based H&M and U.S.-based Phillips-Van Heusen, are sourcing apparel from Ethiopia and Kenya, according to the latest issue of Textile Outlook International from business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Rising wages in China, labor unrest in Cambodia and safety compliance issues in South Asia leading to fires and building collapses have made Ethiopia and Kenya more attractive—especially since the governments of those African nations are creating better conditions to attract investors.
Between 2010–11 and 2013–14, apparel industry employment in Ethiopia more than doubled to 11,716 people, while textile and apparel export earnings rose from $12.6 million to $111 million.
In Kenya, 46 apparel manufacturing industrial projects were approved by Kenya Industrial Estates in 2013. This was a record level and more than double the annual average of 19 projects approved for the period of 2009-12.
The down side of the equation is that neither nation has sufficient domestic supplies of raw cotton, start-up capital for technology or skilled workers.
Source: Textiles Intelligence