The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative on Tuesday launched its first webinar series to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. In total, 136 fashion entrepreneurs, digital innovators and creative minds joined the discussion. The theme of the first episode of the series was: “What does the COVID-19 disruption mean for Africa’s Fashion Market? Opportunities and Threats for Fashionpreneurs and Investors.”
“Supporting investment for the micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative and cultural industries, creating the right environment for the financial sector to play its full part in powering growth, lies at the heart of the African Development Bank’s agenda,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Gender, Women and Civil Society Department at the African Development Bank.
The participants exchanged ideas and shared lessons learned on how to take advantage of online tools to strengthen businesses. Panelists included representatives from supply chain giant Maersk, the HEVA Fund for financing creative industries, the founder of made-in-Africa online brand Tongoro, and Afrikrea – an African e-commerce platform specializing in fashion and crafts.
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“African fashion is rising right now. African designers need to develop their unique business model and have to be innovative. To do so, digital is key,” said Sarah Diouf, founder of Tongoro. “It’s a tool that we can truly leverage to our advantage. Africa has many stories to share and tell.”
Wakiuru Njuguna, Investment Manager and Partner at the HEVA Fund, said sustainability was going to be key to the future of fashion. “Going forward, sustainable fashion is going to be the way to go. The African fashion brands need to be ready to answer the questions they will be asked,” she said.
Subsequent Fashionomics Africa webinars will be available on the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Mobile App (available both on IOS and Android). The platform aims to help Africa’s fashion designers, textile and accessories professionals connect with regional and global markets. Sign up on Fashionomics Africa here. Registration is free.
Fashionomics Africa leverages data and communication technologies to help entrepreneurs access business skills, finance and other tools.