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.
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.
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.
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
Other sector development programmes
Tanzanian Cotton Sector
We are working with local institutions to restructure Tanzania's cotton sector and build supportive markets to ensure more than 400,000 farmers can access the quality inputs and training they need to improve agronomy, increase yields and boost incomes.
Tanzanian Forestry Sector
We have set-up the Forestry Development Trust – an independent institution working with the public and private sectors to transform the Tanzanian forestry sector by increasing the supply of higher-value wood products and energy from sustainable sources while promoting smallholders’ profitable participation in the sector.
Tanzanian Tea Sector
We are building the Tanzanian tea sector in partnership with the Wood Foundation Africa, government bodies and the private sector. The Chai Project aims to expand tea cultivation, increase productivity, improve quality and boost returns to smallholders.
Rwandan Tea Sector
We have expanded our partnership with the Wood Foundation Africa in tea sector development from Tanzania to Rwanda. The Imbarutso Project is working with government, factories and farmers to bolster the sector’s competitiveness and ensure that smallholders benefit from its growth.