is a project to promote and strengthen the German-Ethiopian textile business partnership. Financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and supported by sequa gGmbH. GESAMTMASCHE and ETGAMA jointly implement the project initiatives and inform on progress.
Founded in 1916, the Confederation of the German Knitting Industry – GESAMTMASCHE – is the leading national trade association representing German producers of knitted fashion and fabrics for technical & fashion applications. German knitwear brands are internationally successful and hold a prominent market share in Europe. German knits have always been more than just fashion. They incorporate social trends, technical innovation, new materials and fashion culture. Unique design, the use of superior yarns and state-of-the-art technology form the basis of their international success. About 250 companies belong to the sector, this represents 7.8 billion Euros of exports per year.
Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturers Association – ETGAMA – is the national association of the textile and garment industry in Ethiopia. Founded in 2008, ETGAMA’s mission is to create a vibrant textile and garment sector, which can play a leading role in the growth and development of the manufacturing industry, by bridging the gap through capacity building, market linkage and policy advocacy. The long-term vision is to see Ethiopia as the textile hub of Africa, a competent front-runner in the global market and committed to sustainable production.
sequa gGmbH is a worldwide, non-profit development organization. Since 1991, it has been carrying out programmes and projects of international cooperation in close cooperation with the German economy. sequa employs more than 90 people (2019) and generates sales of 39 million euros (2019). The shareholders of sequa are the four umbrella associations of the German economy: BDA, BDI, DIHK and ZDH as well as GIZ since 2010. Sequa’s activities include programme management, project management and consulting.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is headed by the Minister, Dr Gerd Müller, the Parliamentary State Secretaries, Dr Maria Flachsbarth and Mr Norbert Barthle, and the State Secretary, Mr Martin Jäger. There are around 1,000 people working at the BMZ. About 66 per cent of the positions are based at the Ministry’s Bonn office, while the others are at the Berlin office. A certain number of staff – currently around 120 persons – are regularly seconded from the Ministry for a few years at a time to carry out development policy assignments in various parts of the world.
“There are several good reasons for the project”, says Martina Bandte, President of Gesamtmasche. “Especially sub-Saharan Africa is still a blank spot on the textile map for most in the industry. There is a lot of potential for cooperation there, even if the conditions are not easy. In the short term, the main focus is on the procurement of yarn and contract manufacturing. In the long term, we have to keep an eye on export opportunities.” Some of Africa’s larger economies are growing at a fast pace and already have a respectable middle class. However, there is another motivation for the association’s project: “In a pilot measure, we want to make supply chains transparent and present them to the interested public. At the same time, we want to explain where the difficulties lie.”
The textile sector in Ethiopia is fully operational. Through its own cotton cultivation, the cotton processing industry dominates locally from spinning to garment making. Important product areas are jersey goods and home textiles. The association’s cooperation includes regular delegation and trade fair visits. “We want to crosslink the project with other measures of the Africa Initiative and are in exchange with the Economic Network Africa of the Federal Ministry of Economics,” explains Martina Bandte. “The association’s cooperation with Ethiopia is for us a first important step towards a broader Africa strategy.”