THE APPAREL INDUSTRY PROVIDES JOBS
Madagascar’s textile and apparel industry is the largest formal employer outside of agriculture. It has the capacity to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs if the industry can regain U.S. buyer confidence and take advantage of duty-free exports to the U.S. through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub helps Madagascar-based apparel companies to improve their efficiency and institutionalize the best practices and standards that American apparel companies require. The end result is formal employment for Malagasy workers and quality product for U.S. businesses.
With private sector drive and some help from USAID, after just two years of operation, Havermann grew Madagascar Garment to a Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified, 14-line production company that employs nearly 700 people. USAID-supported linkages led to $1 million in apparel orders for 2018 and Havermann estimates that USAID-supported orders will be six times that in 2019.
“Without the help of the USAID Hub Madagascar Garments would NEVER have got to where we are right now. At present we employ nearly 700 people, and if we continue on our current path we could easily double that,” said Havermann.
A MATURING COMPANY
USAID Hub advisor Sam Meeks concurs.
“The factory overall efficiency was 28% before my arrival and 41% the last 2 weeks. That is a 31% overall improvement and we are really just scratching the surface.”
INSTITUTING HIGH STANDARDS
“The factory is clean, far more organized and working on maintaining and improving on it. It’s also ready for future compliance audits.” “I would think another 30% improvement is possible,” said Mr. Meeks.
DRIVING INCLUSIVE, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
The textile and apparel industry drives economic growth. In the short term, it provides income and jobs, especially for women. In the long term, it provides countries the opportunity for sustained development and investment.
The goal of USAID programming is to drive inclusive, sustainable economic growth to help end extreme poverty. In Madagascar, that growth is resulting from an expanding apparel industry that is capitalizing on AGOA to reach the high-volume U.S. market.