Development plans in Africa cannot discard dynamic sectors like fashion, but with the absence of a well-structured market, legal supervision, or without catching the attention and interest from their public institutions difficulties arise.
These plans do not need to consider only fashion but also other creative arts, entertainment, music, etc. All these activities encompass creative work can be plagiarized, can add high value and have export potential.
In fashion there is strong international competition and a lot of issues which businesses must optimize (market knowledge, cash flow, orders, logistics, etc). Another obstacle for this sector lies in the capacity to increase volumes without compromising on quality for the lack of familiarity with the basic international techniques of trade, which increases the risks.
The industrialization of the craftwork sector is not a hypothetical idea. Successful African fashion businesses have found success when professional artisans and commercial profiles are matched.
African products are imitated worldwide. One of these reasons could be that they cannot be found out locally due to the lack of international presence or logistics problems. Also, there is usually no a legal frameworks to go after those that commit fraud and take legal actions.
Exotic African products are becoming fashionable globally and one can see how many fashion houses have sold and built a reputation on African products. Obviously, these products are sold abroad in the right places and not always on the sidewalks of New York city.
Africa has to give itself the means to increase its confidence developing the inexhaustible source of immaterial resources and not only raw materials. As Ethiopia is highlighting with the success of the footwear brand, Sole Rebels. There is a great potential in terms of poverty reduction because the handicraft sector generates income for very low-income classes as rural dwellers or the unemployed. Generally artisans have low levels of education, but they can learn to trade with training. This is another fantastic opportunity for development agencies and donors.