Magazine article International Trade Forum

Leather Industry Meets in Africa

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Leather Industry Meets in Africa

Article excerpt

A new Pan-African Federation of Leather and Allied Industries was a major accomplishment of "Meet in Africa," according to leather industry professionals at the leather industry conference and trade fair, held in Cape Town from 9-16 November 1988.

The event gathered 971 participants from 58 countries attended, and 193 exhibitors were present at the "Meet in Africa" exhibit. The meeting was organized by ITC with the SIC Group, a major trade fair organizer for the leather industry, and represented the biggest gathering of African leather sector professionals to date.

Other achievements included a new West African Leather Association, as well as a host of joint ventures, training agreements and other agreements among companies, governments and international organizations.

Africa's world leather export share at just over 1%

The meeting aimed to boost Africa's export trade in leather. Currently, Africa's share of world trade represents just over 1%, and is mostly limited to hides, skins and semi-finished leather rather than finished leather and leather products. Worldwide demand has tripled for leather products in the last decade. At the same time, manufacturing is shifting to developing countries.

The meeting was designed to develop a sustainable strategy for increasing Africa's trade in skins, hides and leather products, and brought together a broad range of the players involved: African and non-African enterpreneurs, industry associations, national specialized training institutions, national industry and trade ministries, bilateral development cooperation agencies and international organizations.

As South Africa's Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom, said at the opening ceremony, "Given the right technical, economic and trade policy approaches, nationally and internationally, the potential is enormous for developing countries, including those in Africa, to seize a large part of these multi-billion dollar markets."

Buyer-seller meetings

ITC arranged numerous bilateral consultations among participants, based on a matchmaking analysis of company and product profile forms sent to ITC beforehand. They represented 24 African and non-African countries, demonstrating the high potential for intra-African trade in leather and leather products. Confirmed orders in Cape Town were US$ 600,000, and known orders under negotiation were US$ 1. …

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