By Etuka Sunday
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it is developing an African Cotton Initiative (AFRICOTIN) to help catalyse the African cotton sector, Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of the Bank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, has announced.
Speaking during the launch of the African Corner at the World Cotton Day organised by the World Trade Organization in Geneva on 7 October, Ms. Awani said that the initiative would involve upstream interventions boosting production of cotton on the continent and downstream interventions promoting and financing the consumption of cotton products.
She noted that the cotton value chain provides income for millions of people in Africa, especially those living in rural areas, and represented an important source of foreign exchange for many countries.
Afreximbank had a cotton pipeline of about 400 million Euros, she announced, including $195 million dollars in textile and cotton Parks in Burkina Faso and textile and garments industrial parks in Nigeria.
The African Corner, sponsored by Afreximbank, allowed the Bank to showcase its support for the African cotton value chain and for the African fashion and design industry.
The African Corner is a section of the WTO premises dedicated to African Cotton products and was designed to give exposure and recognition to African cotton and cotton stakeholders. The corner is also being used to develop collaboration with the private sector and seek investors for cotton-related industries and production in Africa.
Observance of the World Cotton Day followed a United Nations resolution sponsored by Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali proclaiming 7 October as World Cotton Day. The four countries, also known as the Cotton-4, are co-sponsors of the Cotton Sectorial Initiative which aims to improve the international cotton trading system.
Cotton is produced in 75 countries, including many least-developed countries where production and processing are important contributors to economic stability and job creation.
Also addressing participants in Geneva was Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, who said that cotton was at the heart the Centre’s efforts to ensure sustainable development through trade in Africa.