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    African Leather Industry Meets in Casablanca


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2000

    A fashion show was part of the event.

    Despite Africa's importance as a supplier of raw material, it accounts for less than 2% of the world's leather trade. ITC seeks to increase Africa's share, especially in the production and trade of finished leather goods, which accounts for over half the value of trade in the leather sector as a whole.

    Opportunity to build skills and alliances
    ITC's programme of technical assistance for the leather sector culminates every two years in an eight-day event called 'Meet in Africa'. The emphasis of the project, organized for members of the African leather sector, is on training, networking and marketing.

    The second Meet in Africa, which registered close to 2,000 visitors from all over the world, was held in Casablanca, Morocco, from 25 September to 2 October 2000. At the event,

    361 companies from 38 countries exhibited their products, and participated in conferences and seminars. In addition, ITC organized 750 one-to-one buyer/seller meetings to facilitate business negotiations between African enterprises and also with overseas companies active in the sector.

    The event also saw the first General Assembly of the African Leather Federation (AFLAI), created as an ITC initiative at the first Meet in Africa event in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 1998.

    Leather has enormous potential in Africa

    World trade in hides, skins, leather and leather products is larger than in better-known commodities such as rice or tea. For many African countries, hides and skins rank among their most readily exportable products.

    Yet this is not the end of the story. The value of the leather trade worldwide was about US$ 48 billion in 1998, divided as follows: US$ 27 billion in leather footwear; US$ 15 billion in leather and leather products; and only US$ 6 billion in raw hides and skins.

    Africa needs to produce value-added leather and leather goods, which hold far more commercial value than unfinished hides and skins.

    Meet in Africa is organized in partnership with the SIC Group. The primary sponsor for the event is the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries of the Netherlands. For more information on ITC's products and services in the leather sector, contact Ron Sauer, Senior Market Development Officer, at sauer@intracen.org

    The discrepancy between African leather production and trade

    African share of total world production

    • 5 % of bovine hides and skins
    • 14% of goat and kid skins
    • 9% of sheep and lamb skins

    African share of world trade

    • less than 2% in raw hides and skins
    • 2% in leather and leather products
    • less than 1% in leather footwear and footwear with leather uppers

    CyberCafé on the leather industry

    In preparation for Meet in Africa, ITC compiled information sources for the African leather industry, covering:

    • tariffs
    • trade statistics
    • country profiles
    • business opportunities
    • company directories
    • trade fairs

    A CD-ROM is available upon request from Emmanuel Barreto,

    ITC Associate Trade Promotion Adviser, at barreto@intracen.org