AfDB moves to boost fashion SMEs, launches digital marketplace

In a bid to promote the African fashion industry, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched an initiative tagged the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace.

The initiative is under Fashionomics Africa and was designed to help Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in fashion such as African fashion designers, textile manufacturers, and accessories professionals. Specifically, the initiative will help to connect eligible fashion entrepreneurs to global markets.

The digital marketplace was launched at the Global Gender Summit which took place in Kigali, Rwanda. The event saw the gathering of bank executives, government representatives, and private sector leaders from all over the world.

Speaking during the launch, the AfDB’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, Dr Jennifer Blanke, said that the aim of the initiative is to connect businesses to consumers, thereby transforming the clothing and fashion industry in Africa. ThisDay quoted her as saying the following:

“It is the first-ever B2B [Business-to-Business] and B2C [Business-to-Consumer] platform that has ever been created for, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that are working along this value chain, It is all really for connecting business to business, businesses to consumers and ensuring we are putting into place all we need to really transform the clothing and fashion industries in Africa.”

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What you should know: The AfDB’s digital marketplace is the online platform created to enable African entrepreneurs from the textile, apparel, and accessories industries to create and grow their businesses. It has a special focus on opportunities for women and young people. Note that it is both a website and a mobile app.

The Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace and mobile app provide relevant market information such as market prices for textiles and clothing. The aim is to connect suppliers, buyers, manufacturers, and distributors to consumers and investors – to increase access and grow markets. To facilitate trade within Africa and worldwide, the digital marketplace and app operate through secure e-commerce and online payment systems.

Note that the initiative also provides listings of trade conferences, and ultimately aims to encourage transparency in the African fashion sector.

Why this matters: Small businesses have always had the challenge of showcasing their businesses to the reach of consumers. As expected, this has slowed them down because it is not easy to find customers ready to patronise.

The AfDB initiative will, therefore, help in broadening their reach and making it easier for SMEs to be able to reach not only local markets but also regional and international markets. This, in turn, would increase their revenues at a much faster pace.

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