Photo:ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative
Lot of people have been asking me about $3.5million Switzerland grant for fashion industry in Ghana that I reported sometimes in 2012. What do they use it for? Who received it? Who are in charge? etc Now, I think I have good news for you. On thursday, June 26, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), in collaboration with the Swiss Government, has launched a fashion project to establish a sustainable export market, based on a sustainable supply chain for ethical fashion and lifestyle products supplied by micro entrepreneurs.

Dubbed ‘‘The Ethical Fashion Ghana Project, ’’ it is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC), and focused on reducing poverty through the generation of trade opportunities for marginalized communities, and their micro-producers in the developing world.

Mr. Dawarnoda Baeka, Chief Director of MOTI, said the Ministry had been looking forward to improving upon textiles and garment for more than a decade now, but the result has not been encouraging. Mr Baeka made this remark at the opening of the Product Development Centre (PDC) at MOTI’s Clothing Technology and Training Centre in Accra.

He appealed to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) not to abandon the project at this stage, but rather look at the possibilities of the project to support in spreading the good work across the country.

According to Mr. Simone Cipriani, Chief, Ethical Fashion Initiative, Poor Communities and Trade Programme, International Trade Centre, Geneva, the project would enable fashion designers from all over the world, to work with women entrepreneurs that are more artisans in several African countries.

‘‘We work with local designers because we believe creativity is not only in the western countries but in Africa as well, ’’ he emphasized. He disclosed that there are similar projects in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Haiti, linked to high fashion market in Europe.

The Ghana project is focused on fashion clothing driven by local talents in design and innovation, whilst the one in Burkina Faso has woven natural fabric as its focus, he said. Mr Cipriani explained that the project seeks to empower micro entrepreneurs to be suppliers for one of the most beautiful and richest supply chain of fashion in the world.

He said the project is to supply local designers with the possibility to produce quality according to the requirement of the international market. Mr Cipriani announced that products of five Ghanaian designers have been showcased in successful way in Milano.

Ms Irenka Krone-Germann of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Geneva, recounted that the project started about five years ago with creative ideas, adding that making a bridge between Western and African culture is one of the most beautiful tasks for an economy and that the project is an example of a private-public partnership.

The PDC is as an integral part of an on-going MOTI and Swiss Government supported initiative, to create a highly competitive Ethical fashion industry in the country. The PDC will provide emerging design brands and talented fashion design trainees with a fully-equipped and professionally managed factory.

The project assists emerging designers to build long-term brands with the formal economy. A sustainable value chain between micro producers in Burkina Faso, Mali, and buyers in Europe, will be established, supported with ethical business practices and fair labour conditions.

By providing jobs and increased incomes through exports, the Ethical Fashion initiative in Ghana will also contribute to reducing poverty amongst small producers.

The project has provided beneficiaries with capacity-building and expertise, ranging from direct product direct support, technical assistance for informal enterprise producers, as well as training on market identification, access to new markets, product design and development support, and business planning for the export market.

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