The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is looking to foster the African cotton sector through the African Cotton Initiative (AFRICOTIN). This was announced by Kanayo Awani, the bank’s Managing Director.

Speaking at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization during the launch of The African Corner earlier this month, Awani explained that Africotin will involve upstream interventions to boost production of cotton in the continent.

Also, a series of downstream interventions will be carried out to promote and finance the consumption of cotton products.

The Managing Director noted that the cotton value chain provides income for millions of people in Africa, especially those living in rural areas. In West Africa, 12 countries benefit from cotton production and processing as it contributes to their economic stability and enhances job creation.

Afreximbank had a cotton pipeline of about 400 million euros, Awani disclosed, including $195 million dollars in textile and cotton Parks in Burkina Faso as well as textile and garments industrial parks in Nigeria.

The African Corner, sponsored by Afreximbank, is a section of the WTO premises dedicated to African cotton and was designed to give exposure and recognition to the products and stakeholders in the industry. The corner is also used to develop collaboration with the private sector and seek investors for cotton-related industries and production in Africa.

Efforts to boost the cotton sector

Over time, there have been other initiatives aimed at boosting the cotton sector. Cotton Made in Africa, an initiative by Aid by Trade Foundation, provides cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with improved and sustainable farming methods that comply with the CmiA standards through agricultural training.

They also support smallholder farmers and their families through various cooperation projects and over time have established an alliance with international textile companies which purchase the raw material from these smallholder farmers.

In 2015, Olam International bought raw cotton from 120,000 farmers in Southern Africa, which were processed into cotton products worth $40 million. The multinational agribusiness company, headquartered in Singapore, employs over two million farmers across the Africa region. 

The major cotton-producing countries in Africa, otherwise known as The Cotton-4 comprising Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, are co-sponsors of the Cotton Sectoral Initiative which aims to improve the international cotton trading system.

By Treasure Nnabugwu

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