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Delegates attending the forum’s session on ways to rejuvenate the supply chain in cotton textile and apparel, said that the entry of United Parcel Service would increase demand and create more jobs in the sector.
United Parcel Service, commonly referred to as UPS, is the world’s largest package delivery company, and given that the company has 425,300 employees, according to 2008 figures, this is another big opportunity for textile firms.
The news was broken by Jean-Claude Mazingue president of JCM & Associates, a global player in consulting, sourcing and product development for all categories of apparel and textile goods.
Mr Mazingue, who has been closely involved in the deal, said that the purchase by UPS would create 4,000 jobs. “When we say Kenya can double its textile and apparel exports to the US, it is through such initiatives as getting UPS and other companies buy your products,” he said.
UPS freight and logistics division manager for Africa, Paul Horsfall, who is attending the meeting, confirmed the staff uniform deal, but said he would not give more information to the media.
The three-day Agoa forum, which opened yesterday, is an annual high-level event that allows officials from Agoa eligible countries and US government officials to review implementation of the Act, which allows 38-eligible sub-Saharan countries to export nearly 6,500 products to the US.
Mr Mazingue said that times were changing and the global financial crisis had reshaped the way US consumers buy and African countries must adapt and seize the opportunities that these changes would bring.
“US citizens will change their ways of buying, living and consuming. We must know who are the buyers of tomorrow. What they are doing and in what way their buying habits will change,” he said.
“To do so, businesses must review their marketing strategies and focus their attention on the fact that US consumers will buy less, but will buy products of better quality.”
He reminded delegates that the US market is different from the traditional European market. Marketing strategies used in Europe would not work in the US.
“There are two very important issues that US buyers seek — precision work and specifications compliance. Do not compromise on this,” Mr Mazingue said.
Mr Christian Kemp-Griffin, chief executive of clothing brand EDUN, said his company uses fashion experience to raise awareness of trade initiatives fighting poverty in Africa.
He gave the example of Edun Live whose aim is to drive sustainable employment in sub-Saharan Africa through high-volume sales of blank T-shirts to the merchandising and promotional products industries.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland