AFC, UNIDO, sign cotton partnership at WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Global review

By Tochukwu Bliss, Abuja

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) said it has signed a joint declaration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to enhance sustainable industrialization.

It also expressed its commitment to supporting the ‘Partenariat pour le coton’ initiative, which seeks to enhance Africa’s role within the global textile and apparel value chains, it said in a statement posted on its website.

Aligned with AFC’s goal to drive Africa’s sustainable development, the declarations were signed at the ongoing Aid-for-Trade Global Review at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Corporation explained that its work with UNIDO is aimed at advancing sustainable industrialisation in developing economies, through catalysing private investment across several sectors.

This will also support energy access and transition, industrial decarbonisation, and the development of agro-industries through mobilising the knowledge, expertise, and financial resources required to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under the terms, AFC agreed to collaborate with UNIDO, the WTO, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to support the ‘Partenariat pour le coton’.

This initiative aims to strategically position African nations – notably Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Côte d’Ivoire – within the global textile and apparel value chains.

The partnership will focus on constructing regional hubs for sustainable textiles to boost trade competitiveness and spur economic development within Africa’s cotton sectors.

The partnership will focus on constructing regional hubs for sustainable textiles to boost trade competitiveness and spur economic development within Africa’s cotton sectors.

Supported by a joint declaration aligned with the UN SDGs, the initiative is committed to transforming the cotton industry by implementing sustainable practices, creating jobs, empowering women and youth, and enhancing technology and infrastructure.

‘Partenariat pour le coton’ extends AFC’s already significant role in transforming Africa’s textiles industry through investee company ARISE IIP’s Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone (GDIZ) in Benin Republic.

The GDIZ hosts a textile manufacturing plant that processes locally sourced raw cotton to create finished t-shirts for sale in domestic and international markets.

The GDIZ’s ‘Made-in-Benin’ t-shirts now retail at The Children’s Place Store in the US, and it recently exported 80,000 children’s leggings to the French brand Kiabi. This milestone showcases the significant potential of Africa’s textile industry and marks a major step in integrating Benin Republic into the global textiles and clothing market.

AFC’s President & CEO, Samaila Zubairu said: “These joint declarations are a reaffirmation of AFC’s commitment to driving sustainable development in Africa. By partnering with esteemed global organisations such as UNIDO and supporting transformational initiatives like the ‘Partenariat pour le coton,’ we are setting the stage for rapid economic and industrial advancements that will create quality jobs and wealth.”

AFC’s recently published “State of Africa’s Infrastructure Report 2024” identified significant infrastructure gaps and, correspondingly, immense investment opportunities in key sectors including power, transport, and digital communications.

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