Analysis by the African Export- Import Bank (Afreximbank) shows that one of the main reasons why intra-African trade is low at around 15% compared to Europe (59%), Asia (51%), and North America (37%) is because of lack of access to trade and market information.
To address this challenge, Afreximbank decided to, among other initiatives, convene the Intra-African Trade Fair every two years to provide trade and market information and connect buyers and sellers from across the continent. (As per IATF Website) SAFLEC along with 40 companies hosted by the DTI attended the first ever trade show in Egypt in December 2018.
The platform was used to make contacts with, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and several other African countries on a massive African platform of networking. The African Union and COMESA secretiat were just a few other contacts made by SAFLEC. The event hosted the Ministers of several African countries who met to discuss the Africa Free Trade agreement. Aside from a few hic-cups experienced by some South African companies with Egyptian customs to bring in their trade samples, the event proved to be a platform where the right connections could be made. It was apparent that the need for school shoes and safety shoes were in high demand in the continent. It was an excellent platform to end our year off with, especially with our main focus being Africa.
Fred Footwear exposure via SABC news was a welcomed spring board to bring awareness to the countries footwear industry.
Riva Del Garda
Bolton Footwear and Ichume, by African Leather exhibited at the January 2019 edition of Riva Del Garda, kicking off the trade events for 2019. As reported by Stuart Hopwood of Bolton Footwear, good contacts were made but foot-traffic at this edition was much lower compared to last year definitely effected by the un-certainty around BREXIT. Ichume, also drew a lot of attention with their new ranges of leather footwear, represented by Purval Irkhede.
On the Safety Footwear platforms, Neptun Boot and BBF Safety Group represented SA at the Dubai Intersec this January.
“We had a fantastic show in Dubai”, said Brad Joyce of Neptun Boot. “Many doors opened for us in the UAE with our superior flagship Stimela XP boot. We are looking forward to the next show.”
India, South Africa Business forum
SAFLEC formed part of a select business delegation to accompany President Cyril Ramaphosa on a state visit to India this January. It was a pleasure to have Presidency recognise the Footwear and Leather industry. The President in his speech encouraged investment in South Africa. Skills sharing and learning from each other on our respected successes formed part and parcel of the relationships, and was part of the conversations held.
Footwear Exports still on the low
The losses borne at the beginning of the year to some of our African partners have lent to a massive drop in SA exports totalling to almost 400 000 pairs. We stand at present at around 10% down in comparison to 2017. The strikes rendered effort’s to recover over the year 2018 fruitless. The Madden group of buyers visited SA during this time. One cannot comment on the influence it has had. Manufacturers have born losses in Zimbabwe, as reported by our 3 of our member manufacturers and many orders were cancelled. No effort was spared as DTi and TIKZN were pulled in to assist a few factories that went into distress.
We are looking forward to a recovery for the New Year, as no effort will be spare to continue helping our manufacturers. Challenges and hurdles will come, but the strength of an industry like ours will help us survive the test of time.
Export funding for SAFLIA members
Manufacturers with no access to Export trade show funding (for various reasons) has been a major concern for SAFLEC. Some of these factories are larger entities, which have capability, quality and potential to grow exports.
With intention of ensuring that all manufacturers where receiving benefits, a special request was made by SAFLEC to SAFLIA, to try and assist with the funding of some of these factories. We want to collectively create opportunities for all our joint members not just a select few. Most importantly we want to ensure that all members and industry are given benefits, no matter how large or small. SAFLIA announced on mail to SAFLEC, that they are in agreement in starting initiatives that will assist those who have not previously managed to obtain funding. The initiative is restricted to SAFLIA members only. SAFLIA represents the footwear industry hence only SAFLIA members will qualify. General goods, Luggage and Handbags will not be covered by this initiative.
Please see criteria below:
– Must be a fully paid up member of SAFLIA
– No other funding received by the member for the exhibition – must be 100% self-funded
– SAFLIA will contribute/reimburse 50% of member’s direct expenses per exhibition with a maximum R40, 000 per event
– SAFLIA will refund 2 fairs per member for the 2019 calendar year.
– SAFLIA is willing to sponsor up to 2 people per member per event.
– Full cost details to be supplied to SAFLIA with proof of payment. This will be reimbursed directly to the Member by SAFLIA.
Get ready!!! Arsutoria Training coming soon.
SAFLEC has managed to acquire sponsorship for a third year in a row, for the benefit of all Footwear Members. SAFLIA has once again come forward as the main sponsor to the event with SAFLEC and eThekwini as the 2nd and 3rd sponsor that will cover the logistics as well as training centre requirements. So get your designers ready, because this year we bring you Maria Christina who has had 15 years of experience at renown name brand, “Valentino”.
To the handbag and leather goods manufacturers, note that we are working on sponsorships for you too, so watch this space.