Value addition for a resilient cotton sector in Africa

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

In many cotton-producing countries in Africa, textile and apparel industries collapsed in the 1990s and have yet to recover. As a result, these countries export nearly all their lint without adding any value to the fibre. Apart from crushing cotton seed, they also add relatively little value to by-products, such as stalks, linters or ginning and spinning residues. Generating little value added, the cotton sector therefore relies on volatile international markets. Meanwhile, risk-averse farmers have reacted to volatile prices by growing less cotton, creating a vicious cycle, in which lower production of raw material represents the main impediment to new value-added processing activities in Africa.

Policies to build a more resilient cotton sector in Africa must therefore develop value-added activities that contribute to increased and diversified revenues and thus incentives for farmers to grow more cotton.

In this session, experts will share perspectives and success stories on how African countries can reimagine the cotton-to-clothing value chain and capitalize on cotton by-products, while making cotton more profitable for farmers.


  • Ms. Elke Hortmeyer, Director, Bremen Cotton Exchange


  • Mr. Marco Mtunga, President, African Cotton Association / Director-General, Tanzania Cotton Board
  • Mr. Joseph Nkole, Chief Executive Officer, Mumbwa Ginnery Limited / Chairman, Cotton Association of Zambia
  • Mr. Christian Schindler, Director-General, International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF)
  • Mr. Jas Bedi, Executive Director, Fine Spinners Uganda, Chairman African Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF)
  • Mr. Sidahmed Alphadi Seidnaly, alia ALPHADI, Fashion Designer, Niger

Primary United Natiosn Sustainable Development Goal:

  • Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead

Complementary United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 1: No Poverty
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production


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There will be live webcasting of the conference.

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