The Chief Executive of CROSS Fashion House, Elijah Nyamekye Amoako has urged the Fashion industry to position itself to be able to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He said, industry players need to be creative and competitive in their fashion designs and styles for AfCFTA to help them access the African Market.
The AfCTA is a single market, a duty-free-quota-free trading bloc covering the entire African Continent with a total population of 1.3 billion to create a single continental market for goods and services.
In an exclusive interview with Elijah Nyamekye Amoako he described AfCFTA as good news and indicated that trade has been ongoing before AfCFTA but not as major as it should be considering the barriers thereof.
“We the fashion designers in Ghana shouldn’t focus on the local market alone. We should focus on the international market also, so if this opportunity has come, we need to grab it and make sure we make it work,” he said.
According to him, the fashion industry players in Ghana can do well in other markets by putting into account their strength; knowing what their competitors are doing, what they can produce or do and where they can conquer.
He averred that some of the African countries under AfCFTA are already in the fashion industry and are considered giants of the industry but that notwithstanding, there are fashion designers in Ghana who are very great and talented and who can compete with others in other countries.
“So we must look at what others in other countries are doing that we in Ghana are not doing and what we can do to also penetrate their markets and make sure we excel in their markets,” he said.
CROSS Fashion House CEO also indicated that Ghanaian fashion entrepreneurs can access a market with a combined Gross Domestic Product and expand their business in the African Market.
“AfCTA is a major global game-changer for entrepreneurs especially for us those in the fashion business because as a continent we share similar products which can be cross traded,” he said.
He mentioned that fashion industry players also need to work on their turnaround time to deliver to clients on time, do research and use quality materials and accessories.
He also bemoaned lack of Data in the fashion industry which is mostly affecting investment opportunities in the industry.
Elijah Nyamekye Amoako said much investment is needed to boost operations of the fashion industry with the increasing prices of goods and services, fabrics and accessories, there is the need for the players in the industry to position themselves well to attract investors.
He also called on government to take a critical interest into the fashion industry and factor them into 1D1F and TVET programs so as to create more jobs and reduce unemployment rate.
According to him, AfCFTA presented enormous opportunities for SMEs to connect to the regional markets and deepen their integration into the African single market which allowed exporters to trade from far and wide.
He lauded government efforts to put in place policy reform measures to encourage the private sector to invest in industrial ventures, create more jobs and promote intervention in support of innovation and entrepreneurship; which he said fashion must be on that agenda.
He stressed the fact that although the fashion industry in Ghana is progressing, government must invest more in that sector for it to take advantage of the Year of Return where fashion forms major part of its beauty.
“We need investments to be able to compete well. Fashion industry players in Ghana lack the machinery to produce more. With AfCFTA coming in it means we must up our production capacity; we need to produce more and without the right investments, it will be difficult to produce to meet the international standard. We need a lot of creativity and machines and these boil down to investment,” he said.
He however urged fashion designers to form Union if possible, in order to equip themselves to take advantage of the numerous opportunities AfCTA offered.