The Chief of Party of the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Mrs Carol Adoum, has advised the government to provide more assistance to the textile and apparel industry in order to position industries in that sector to fully take advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Mrs Adoum said this in an interview at a workshop which was organised by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) West Africa Trade and Investment Hub in Accra.
She said the government must be able to provide expanded infrastructure as needed because the orders from the United States (US) market due to AGOA keep growing
“Önce these comapnies are not able to expand their capacities, they will lose out to countries such as Ethiopia where the government is investing so much into the infrastructure development of the industrial zones.
“In Ethiopia for instance, the government is providing lots of assistance to the garment industry. Some of the companies we were talking to here in Ghana have lost their orders to Ethiopia because the infrastructure needed by the company to meet the orders were not available and the government was not helpful enough in getting the infrastructure”, she said.
She said there was a high demand for the products in the US market at the moment and the sector, if provided with the right support, could provide 1000s of jobs for the youth, especially women.
“Government should, therefore, provide the right infrastructure, stable electricity, roads and the right kind of environment to help the industry”, she stated.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act, enacted on 18th May, 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress. AGOA has since been renewed to 2025.
As part of the USAID/West Africa Trade and Investment Hub’s ongoing efforts to help West African garment manufacturers overcome hurdles to international export, the Hub organised a workshop which brought in experts from the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) team to educate apparel manufacturing companies in Ghana on the need to have WRAP certification.
The objective of the workshop was to introduce the companies to the WRAP certification programme and show them how it could benefit their companies if they got WRAP-certified.
The Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development at WRAP, Mr Clay E. Hickson, said the apparel industry was characterised by competition from Asia, Latin America and some countries in Africa.
He said companies, therefore, had to do whatever possible to set themselves apart from competition, and getting WRAP was one way of doing so.
He noted that to be WRAP-certified meant that your company was complying with internationally recognised standards, as well as local laws related to aspects such as child labour, forced labour, wages and benefits, health and environmental issues, and basic safety and security issues.
He said a company that wants to be certified must go through a registration process on their web page, provide a report and WRAP will evaluate to see if that company meets its requirement.
“Once we are satisfied, we issue a certificate that can be used as proof to the international buying community that your factory is socially responsible,” he pointed out.