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FIFA, UNIDO discuss field-to-factory cotton value chains in Africa

22 September 2023

Infantino FIFA and DG

NEW YORK – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s Director General, Gerd Müller, met Gianni Infantino, President of football’s international governing body, FIFA, to discuss future collaboration.

FIFA is already engaged with the World Trade Organization (WTO), exploring ways to exploit football’s worldwide influence to unlock global economic potential, notably in the area of cotton production in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, collectively known as the ‘Cotton 4 (plus)’ group. These countries produce large quantities of high-quality cotton fibre, which is rated among the most sustainable in the world due to it being handpicked, rain-irrigated, and grown mostly with organic fertilizer.

However, as most of this cotton is exported as raw material, the ‘Cotton 4 (plus)’ group is missing out on the additional revenue and job creation that could be generated if local cotton-to-textile value chains were developed at national and regional levels.

UNIDO is currently carrying out a study on the feasibility of producing apparel made from cotton and mixed fibres, including the use of recycled polyester, in the five countries. The assessment will also look at how investment and technical know-how can be mobilized, at supply and demand capacities, and at the compatibility of existing legal and policy frameworks with the development of textile and apparel value chains in these African countries.

Once the feasibility study is completed, UNIDO will use its findings as the basis for a fully-fledged project document in support of the joint-FIFA-WTO initiative.

“At FIFA, we recognize the work that UNIDO has been carrying out and we will keep exploring opportunities to support the work of this important organization and the next steps in our collaboration,” said Infantino, following the meeting with UNIDO’s Müller.

Infantino will address the World Cotton Day 2023 event, which will be jointly hosted by UNIDO and FAO, in cooperation with the WTO, ITC, UNCTAD and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), in Vienna on 4 October 2023.