Africa to have eight billion shoes deficit annually
The Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute said the continent accounts for only one per cent of the global leather market, which generates over $50 billion a year.
The Executive Director of Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, has said Africa has a deficit of leather products. In an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency, Mwinyihija said over the next two years, the population of Africa is expected to rise to 1.4 billion at which point about 1.4 billion shows would be required.
"We need 1.4 billion pairs of shoes that we need in the coming 2 years because the population is coming to 1.4 billion. Deficits are running into 8,000 million pairs per year," the Executive Director of ALLPI said.
The ALLPI, formerly COMESA/LLPI, is mandated to support the development of the leather sector in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region. Headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the members of ALLPI include Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. According to a recent study by the ALLPI, Mwinyihija said, up to 26 per cent of the global animal resources are in Africa, making Africa the home for hides and skins resources.
However, the institute said Africa contributes only about one per cent of leather products to the global market, which generates over $50 billion a year. This results to huge importation of footware and other leather products into African countries. According to Mwinyihija, Africa must proceed to adding value to its leather commodities. The report also showed that youth participation in the leather value chain is very low, compared to the elderly who are the most active.
“All (African) countries must work to bring out the necessary skills to move from importing foreign leather products to manufacturing quality and value-added leather commodities,” Mwinyihija noted.
Mwinyihija, therefore, called on African governments to develop policies and strategies to develop the leather sector in such a way that it can generate enough revenue for both the government and the producers, and thereby reduce poverty.
“We are underestimating our potential. We are so demarcated and separated to the extent that we cannot sell our products in our own country. As a result, second-hand, poor quality materials are shipped from all over the world to African countries.”
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