The African Development Bank (AfDB) under the leadership of the Gender, Women and Civil Society (AHGC) and in collaboration with the Industrial and Trade Department (PITD), supports the growth of African Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the creative industries, notably the fashion, film and food value chain.
By using technology as a driver for the development of the skills and capacity of the African creatives, the Bank would like to stimulate job creation in the continent, especially for women and youth. Developing the creative industries would draw on African culture as a unique selling point and can help African countries capture more of the value within global value chains. The initiative is in line with the High-5 agenda, specifically: (i) Feed Africa; (ii) Industrialize Africa and (v) Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa through the Jobs for Youth Strategy 2016-2025 and the AfDB’s Gender Strategy 2014-2018.
Fashionomics Africa initiative
The Bank as such commenced the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace Initiative targeting 5 countries (but not limited to) namely, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa. In April 2016, the Bank commissioned a feasibility study that resulted in the establishment of the Fashionomics Africa prototype platform based on the study’s recommendations.
The Fashionomics Africa initiative intends to contribute to the African Textile, Apparel & Accessories (TA&A) industry by:
- Increasing number of TA&A entrepreneurs accessing markets through e-commerce capabilities
- Increasing access to finance by linking the TA&A entrepreneurs, start-ups and MSMEs with commercial bank as well as alternative finance channels
- Increasing number of TA&A entrepreneurs benefitting from the technical and business skills developed through capacity building activities
- Increasing transparency in the industry and providing relevant market information
- Creating jobs (skilled and unskilled) in the TA&A value chain in Africa
- Increasing number of TA&A entrepreneurs accessing mentorship and networking services
- Forging strategic partnerships with key contributors that can help support the program
- Building a more conducive business climate
- Contributing to the organization of advocacy and trade fairs events
The goal of the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa platform is to enable African entrepreneurs operating in the Textile, Apparel and Accessories (TA&A) industry to create and grow their businesses, with a focus on women and youth. The speciﬁc objectives of the platform are four-fold:
- i. increase access to markets (by developing a full-scale platform including wholesale and retail platforms) and market intelligence;
- ii. increase access to ﬁnance (the platform will, among other things, facilitate access to ﬁnance, not only by connecting designers with commercial banks and established investors but also by tapping into alternative ﬁnancing channels, such as crowdfunding mechanisms, and linking them to angel and venture capital investors);
- iii. provide mentorship and networking opportunities; and
- iv. develop skills and qualifications (tutorials/training on produce high-quality garment but also business acumen on how to prepare business plan, etc.) of the target group.
"This is my first participation and the event was useful because it exposed me to things I did not know, got me access to more knowledge and helped to learn how to reach out to new customers."
"We noticed a spike on Instagram followers and visitors to our website after the fashion show. It was great exposure and it increased our international audience."
"I am here to network and find partners to work in different cities, I want the fill the gaps my business is facing in my country."
"I think the Fashionomics Africa initiative as a whole is an amazing opportunity for women to join, to learn, to grow, to network, and to be able to understand what you need to do to be successful in fashion economics."
"I think that for fashion designers we really need to move forward to become a really sustainable business, really strong businesses. (Fashionomics Africa) really gave me a tool to work on and I am very excited."
"Even if you have a top-notch skill and provide excellent customer service, you won’t make enough money unless people pay for your services."