India ITME & SITA-ITC webinar connects India & E Africa

India ITME & SITA-ITC webinar connects India & E Africa

The virtual trade fair TextilesExchange 2021 brought together Indian and East African textile businesses to explore the potential of trading partnership and capitalise on market opportunities

 

Mumbai,
May 5, 2021

 

The
International Trade Centre (ITC) – a joint agency of the United Nations and the
World Trade Organization – in partnership with India International Textile
Machinery Exhibitions (ITME) Society hosted TextilesExchange 2021 on April
23-24, 2021. It was a virtual trade fair for the textile industry where Indian
and East African textile businesses met potential trading partners and capitalised
on market opportunities. TextilesExchange 2021 is under the framework of
Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA), a project funded by
the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

 

S
Hari Shankar, Chairman, India ITME Society, gave the keynote address at the opening
ceremony. “This TextilesExchange 2021 platform is enabling buyers and sellers
to interact based on their mutual business interests. And which will hopefully
result in long-term business relationships,” he explained.

 

Over
700 business to business (B2B) meetings were planned for the event, and many
more happened during the two days of the event. Close to 250 businesses from
Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are using the
TextilesExchange platform to present their company’s products; source inputs; exchange
knowledge, ideas and technology; and

create
vibrant business networks in the process.

 

Govind
Venuprasad, Coordinator, SITA, stated, “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. We shall
overcome and this that occupies us today will be a distant memory soon! In the
meantime, 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.”

 

On
the first day, the participants also interacted with international experts in
technical seminars on access to finance and import compliance regulation, two
of the biggest challenges for East African Textile companies. Giving Rwanda’s
perspective at the opening ceremony, Kanzayire Theopiste, Chairperson, Apparel
Manufacturing Group (AMG) of Rwanda, highlighted access to finance as a major
challenge for their members, 99% of whom are women. Her remarks were followed
by a presentation by Anda Valla, SITA Project Officer, who announced the launch
of SITA’s Access to Finance guide that seeks to address this problem. This
practical guide will assist companies to get connected to financial
institutions.

 

Three
quarters of the East African TextilesExchange delegates were women. Since
textile and apparel is a women-led sector, growing and strengthening the
textile value chain is key opportunity to economically empower women and
contribute to sustainable development at the same time. With this in mind,
Sheena Frida from the Kenyan Fashion Council, emphasised the timeliness of the
TextilesExchange event, since the sector has been particularly badly hit by the
Covid-19 pandemic.

 

As
well as connecting companies with each other to do business,
TextilesExchange2021 served as a platform for insights on technology transfer
and other partnerships including investments between Indian and East African
companies operating across the textile and apparel value chain. In particular,
TextilesExchange 2021 focuses on machinery, fibre, yarns, fabric, trimmings and
accessories.

 

The
Supporting Indian Trade and Investment in Africa (SITA) initiative was launched
in 2015 in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania
– in response to the untapped potential for greater South-South cooperation
with India. SITA is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
of the United Kingdom and implemented by the International Trade Centre. Across
five priority sectors, SITA responds to the specific challenges that businesses
in these countries face with a view to promote economic growth and Sustainable
Development, using knowledge, technology and trading opportunities from India.

 

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