Queen Elizabeth II greets Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Getty Images.
The fashion and textile industries will be a focus of this year’s Commonwealth Business Forum, an event associated with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda. Business leaders, heads of government, ministers and senior policy makers will gather, in person, from 22 to 24 June 2021.
“Members of the Commonwealth Fashion Council such as Omoyemi Akelere, founder of Lagos Fashion Week, Claudia Lumor, the Ghanaian founder of Glitz Africa Magazine and the Glitz Style Awards, and Sheena Frida from the Kenyan Fashion Council have been invited to form panel discussions on re-thinking pan-Commonwealth cooperation,” said Daniel Hatton, Chief Executive and Founder of the Commonwealth Fashion Council (CFC).
The CFC is a council of fashion industry leaders from across The Commonwealth, an association of 54 sovereign states headed by Queen Elizabeth II that is home to 2.4 billion people living on six continents. The 26th edition of the biennial CHOGM summit was due to take place last year before being postponed.
“Blue fashion, the sustainable use of ocean-based materials in fashion, will also be a topic of conversation, as East Africa enjoys untapped resources across its coastlines,” Hatton added.
As part of the forum’s programme on the global economic recovery, which spans issues such as supply chain disruptions and digital infrastructure, one session will be dedicated to the future of the textile industries in Commonwealth economies that were severely impacted by the pandemic.
“Fashion and textiles are crucial industries in many Commonwealth countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Ghana. Government and fashion industry leaders will benefit from a post-Covid discussion about the future of the industry and its impact on sustainability, jobs and rapid digital transition,” said Samantha Cohen, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.
Companies focused on the fibre to fabric supply chain as well as apparel, footwear and textile manufacturers such as Hussain Mills, Ravi Spinning Mills, MAS Holdings, Brandix, Hirdaramani Group, KAD Manufacturing, Shasha Denims, Nishat Group, Ha-meem Group, DBL Group and Plexus Cotton, will attend from across the Commonwealth.
Rwanda is one of 19 African members of the Commonwealth. With economic growth approaching 10 percent in 2019, the small but dynamic nation was in the midst of a boom prior to the pandemic, having become an increasingly popular destination for foreign direct investment. Despite a recent trade dispute with the US and a fashion manufacturing sector that is significantly smaller than some of its neighbours on the continent, Rwanda has earmarked the development of the apparel and textile sector as a priority for exports.
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