Africa

Programmes

Tanzanian Textiles Sector

We have established the Textile Development Unit in Tanzania’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Unit is tasked with developing the resources and skills needed to create the right environment for increased foreign and domestic investment into the sector.

Tanzanian Textiles Sector
Tanzanian Textiles Sector

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The ultimate vision is of a thriving sector creating tens of thousands of jobs, increasing exports, providing a higher value market for all of Tanzania’s cotton and contributing significantly to economic growth

The Opportunity

From Great Britain in the 18th Century to a series of Asian countries in the 20th, the textiles and apparel sector has repeatedly been an engine for development, kickstarting periods of rapid job creation and economic growth.  For countries with relatively low wages, the sector provides the opportunity to adopt technology from elsewhere and create large numbers of jobs for semi-skilled workers.  Through this process countries can acquire the organisational and technological capabilities vital to building future industries.  Recognising this, the Tanzanian government has highlighted the sector as crucial to achieving its aim of becoming a middle income country by 2025. 

The Vision

Strengthening the value chain, building the right supporting institutions and improving the policy and business environment could transform the sector. Existing firms would upgrade and expand. New investors from Tanzania and abroad would enter the sector. New firms would diversify the product range, rapidly increase the proportion of cotton upgraded in Tanzania, and create a boom in textile and garment exports. Ultimately a thriving and resilient sector would be creating tens of thousands of jobs, increasing exports, providing a higher value market for all of Tanzania’s cotton and contributing significantly to economic growth.

OUR Programme

To help, in 2012 Gatsby established the Textile Development Unit (TDU) in Tanzania’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, tasked with developing the resources and skills needed to create the right environment for increased foreign and domestic investment into the sector.

Highlights of the TDU's work so far include successful lobbying work on the proper declaration of the value of imported cloth.  This one step alone (leading to the value of certain imports rising 782% in a year) has enabled fairer competition between local producers and those importing from Asia, resulting in a number of local mills now operating three shifts seven days a week, compared to one shift three days a week in 2011. 

The TDU has also: brought stakeholders together to form an industry association; established a national training programme for apparel supervisors to become trainers of operators; and supported investments in new equipment and in re-establishing moribund mills. 

Gatsby renewed support in 2014 to allow the TDU to scale up activities, including:

  • Supporting local industry by facilitating business links and enhancing business capabilities
  • Developing and rolling out further training programmes, for example, for technicians and higher level skills
  • Building significant capabilities to target and facilitate international investments
  • Maintaining pressure on key policy issues through ongoing facilitation of the industry association, plus analytical work to inform direct influencing