Study tour for Nigerian investors to Madagascar and Mauritius
ABUJA, 25 March 2013 - A delegation of Nigerian private sector investors led by the CEO of the Bank of Industry, Evelyn Oputu, concluded a one week study tour to Madagascar and Mauritius today.
The mission, organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), provided an opportunity to visit textile mills and garment factories, and meet local investors and promotion agencies in the two countries.
Charles Giblain, President of the Madagascar Export Processing Zone Association (GEFP), said that Madagascar had lost its competitive edge to produce fabrics, except for one large scale integrated textile mill. At the same time he noted that the country remained highly competitive in the garment sector thanks to its skilled labour force and cost structure. “In Madagascar people grow up with a spin in their hands,” he said. Madagascar now imports fabrics from Mauritius for its growing garment industry, which is largely for the export market.
During a meeting with the Board of Investment of Mauritius, Evelyn Oputu said that, despite the preferential trade agreements between Nigeria and the USA and the EU, due to technical constraints the country has failed to export garments or fabrics significantly to the USA. She added that Nigerian textile and garment industries were not competitive, and this had to change.
She also said that with the help of the Cotton, Textile and Garment Revival fund from her Bank, Nigeria was looking for technical partners to turn the sector around.
Unlike Madagascar and Mauritius, Nigeria is a major cotton producer that already has in place factories that are ginning, spinning and weaving textiles. Nigeria has an internal market of about 170 million inhabitants and a gateway to the 350 million people in the West African region. It is in this respect that the Government of Nigeria decided to revive the textile sector in order to create jobs and boost its economy, said Oputu.
Seewraj Nundlall, Director of the Goods Producing Sector, said that Mauritius, despite the high cost of labour and geographical isolation had succeeded in diversifying its textile sector and developing a high level niche market driven by innovation and technology and has maintained a comparative advantage in the capital intensive textile and garment industry. He offered support to Nigeria in the drive to revive its textile and garment industries.
Members of the Nigerian delegation acknowledged that the tour had provided useful lessons and best practices that will be used in pursuing investments in the textile and garment sectors in Nigeria.
The UNIDO Representative in Madagascar, Lorence Ansermet, will follow up with the industries in Madagascar and Mauritius; while Patrick Kormawa, UNIDO Representative in Nigeria, will continue to work with the Bank of Industry of Nigeria to bring the necessary expertise and technical knowledge from investors in the textile and garment industries in Madagascar and Mauritius.
Experts and officials will be invited to visit Nigeria to develop a strategic partnership to revitalize the garment industry in Nigeria.
Evelyn Oputu thanked UNIDO for initiating the study tour as part of South–South cooperation.
For more information, please contact:
UNIDO Regional Office, Nigeria