South Africa, leather industry to the rescue: the government pledges to create a program that will “create 60,000 jobs”

South Africa’s government is defining a plan for the development of the clothing, footwear and leather goods’ industries. The goal: “To create 60,000 jobs and create a more competitive chain”. Bulelani Magwanishe, vice-minister of industry, announced it at the opening of a new Africa Bespoke Apparel’s production site (ABA), in Verulam. ABA is the first company to benefit from the government’s contributions, that are aiming at increasing work availability for citizens of color within the Black Industrialists’ program. The plant, operating in the textile, clothing, and footwear segment, will put 450 people to work within the first 4 months of activity. Sihle Zikalala, member of politics responsible for the development of the region, has expressed his opinion regarding how, in the past, the textiles, clothing, and footwear segments, have been put under pressure by international competitiveness, which caused a loss of jobs. Due to this belief, the government believes in the process of re-building the productive capacity of the sector. This is an objective that South Africa, as a country, has been pursuing for years, with good results. Local production was of 18 million pairs of shoes in 2009, which was incremented to 75 million pairs in 2017, and the country has set a goal for itself of 100 million in 2019. According to a recent study by B&M Analysts, the country’s footwear industry employs over more than 10,000 people, and this industry has the capacity to offer many more jobs if retailers make an effort to buy more ‘home-made’ shoes, rather than importing them.

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