Mauritius and Madagascar Weave Stronger Ties to Promote Regional Textile Hub

On 11 April 2023, the Mauritius Export Association (MEXA) and the ‘Groupement des Entreprises Franches et Partenaires’ (GEFP) of Madagascar announced the setting up of a Joint Commision on Textile and Clothing in order to boost synergies and work towards common goals in the textile sector.

Together, Mauritius and Madagascar export about USD 1.5 billion of textile per annum. Both countries benefit from being part of the EU iEPA, US #AGOA, UK-ESA, #AfCFTA, COMESA, SADC to gain preferred access to markets in Europe, US and Africa.

The new grouping believes that Mauritius and Madagascar are more partners than competitors since their offerings are complementary. In the 80s and 90s, Mauritius was a powerhouse in knitwear until the dismantling of the Multi-Fiber Agreement. Due to rising costs, low-end textile manufacturers have moved from Mauritius to Madagascar and Bangladesh while high-value added products and operations have remained in Mauritius.

Clients and procurement officers rate the region as a rapid, reliable, quality-oriented and #ESG-conscious destination for textile sourcing. Following the push to diversify supply chains as a consequence of disruptions caused by the #COVID pandemic, the region has in fact gained in prominence on the global textile radar.

In order to take advantage of this paradigm shift, the Regional Textile Hub has come up with an Action Plan to:

  • Collaborate on projects of common interests with shared objectives,
  • Conduct joint marketing and promotion campaigns,
  • Facilitate movement of human capital and transfer of know-how,
  • Enhance connectivity in the region, and
  • Consolidate the image of Regional Textile Hub.

In the same vein, it is worth recalling that both countries are partnering to set up a new Textile #SEZ in Moramanga. However, the project was put on hold during the COVID pandemic; now, might be the opportune moment to put the Textile City back on the regional cooperation agenda.

In addition, Hery Lanto Rakotoarisoa, Chairperson of GEFP, proposed a plan to push #digitalization to enhance marketing and collaboration. Mr Arif Currimjee, Chairperson of MEXA, believes that in the current context where Global Supply Chains (#GSC) are being reconfigured, the new Regional Textile Hub is well-positioned to secure a larger slice of the pie.