West Africa has an opportunity to build an integrated textile value chain, creating thousands of better jobs and introducing innovative sustainable fabric production technologies, thanks to a new partnership between IFC and DTRT Apparel Group, the region’s largest clothing manufacturer.
Under the agreement, IFC will support DTRT to pursue the development of a sustainable fabric mill and the expansion of the garment manufacturing factory near its operating base in Accra, Ghana. IFC’s team will also explore the potential for the company to produce synthetic fibres and yarns—including from recycled materials—seeking to advance West Africa’s position as an increasingly competitive global textiles cluster.
DTRT currently has more than 3,000 workers and employees — predominantly women — at its existing factory in Ghana, making it one of country’s largest private sector employers. Despite challenging conditions brought on by Covid-19, the company retained all of its staff throughout the pandemic by pivoting to producing personal protective equipment to support Ghana’s frontline workers. The company increased its sales by 25% in 2021 relative to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
“Our experience with the pandemic taught us that Africa must and can depend on itself, and we are confident that we can build an integrated textile industry right here in West Africa to support that goal. IFC’s expertise will help us draw that roadmap,” said Marc Hansult, DTRT’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO.
Despite efforts to enhance local value addition, West Africa lacks an integrated textile value chain and more advanced manufacturing processes. The agreement with DTRT is part of IFC’s strategy to create new markets, increased exports, and more and better jobs in the West African textiles sector.
“West Africa has an opportunity to become the next global textiles and apparel manufacturing hub, tapping into a US$ 1.5 trillion global market,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Ghana. “IFC is committed to supporting DTRT to make that vision a reality.”
West Africa is the sixth largest cotton-producing region in the world. The region’s improving economic environments, affordable labour costs, improved and efficient ports, and short transit times to Europe and America markets combine to give the region significant comparative advantages relative to other regions globally.