Once upon a time in Tunisia. 50% of the leather chain has disappeared in the North-African country over the last decade. Akram Belhaj, president of the local Fédération Nationale du Cuir et de la Chaussure, is sounding the alarm. Africanmanager.com interviewed him, and he explained that “the country’s stores today sell counterfeit products. In order to bring value to Made-in-Tunisia products, we must be able to write on the product its origin, so that customers can actually know what they are buying”.
According to data published by the association, there were 480 businesses active in the leather chain in 2009. Only 251 remain as of today: about half. Specifically: 12 tanneries, 167 footwear producers, and 72 leather goods’ makers. As far as employment goes, the number of individuals employed by the industry went from 60.000-70.000 in 2010 to 36.800 in 2017 (latest available data).
Stream of difficulties
Among the challenges pointed out by entrepreneurs active in the segment is the “catastrophic lack of skilled labor, local raw material & proper technology tools”. Additionally, social tensions and lack of respect for regulations by some manufacturers further complicates the situation. And more. Always according to operators, there is also a disinterest by authorities, as they never conduct any check on operations. Illegal imports of footwear and leather goods, for the most part, continue unchecked.
Image taken from leconomistemaghrebin.com