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Project Spurs Growth in African Textile Trade

Fikirte Addis, a fashion designer living and working in Ethiopia, recently took her collection of traditional hand-loomed cotton designs to the runway in early July 2011 at Africa Fashion Week in New York. Her designs, along with others featured, are part of a growing demand for African-made apparel worldwide.
​The USAID Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Program, along with several local partners, has been working to develop the African textile and trade industry and helped sponsor Addis’s trip to New York after she competed and won in the Origin Africa Fiber to Fashion 2011 Designer Showcase in Mauritius. The Origin Africa Fiber to Fashion event, held in March 2011, was part of a two-day symposium that brought together designers, manufacturers, and buyers from across Africa. 

So far, the program’s efforts have helped generate more than $50 million in textile and apparel exports to the United States in just the last two years, and the buzz is building. The Washington Post and the Huffington Post have mentioned Addis’s work and the program. The program’s work is part of an ongoing effort to encourage trade, support sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty throughout central and east Africa.



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