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Celebrating Pan African cultural diversity and artistry

Addis Ababa, 14th September 2016

The Africa Fashion Reception (AFR) opened at the African Union Conference Center. The event aims at celebrating Pan African cultural diversity and artistry as expressed through fashion design and is expected to run for two days.

The Africa Fashion Reception started in 2013 with the objective of harnessing the potential power of the African fashion industry to fight poverty and support developmental agenda by empowering women and youth engaged in various aspects of the fashion industry through the provision of training, capacity building schemes, workshops and setting up of medium and small scale businesses thereby supporting the African Union Agenda 2063 and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The AFR is jointly organized by the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Legendary Gold Limited with the intention of attracting global attention to Africa’s very rich and diversified dress culture which can be viewed as a catalyst for the social economic growth of the continent’s textile industry.

During this year’s event, AFR will champion the theme ‘Africa is the New Inspiration for Global Fashion’, bringing together fashion designers from over 20 African countries. The event will include amongst other activities, a fashion business summit, a runway show and a two day exhibition of locally produced clothing items and fashion accessories by the participating countries.

On behalf of His Excellency Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mrs. Angela Martins, Head of Culture of the African Union Commission (AUC) welcomed the fashion designers from Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland and Zambia and al partners and participants to the Africa Fashion Business Summit. She mentioned that the Africa Fashion Reception platform assists the AUC in harnessing arts, culture and youth potential in contributing to Africa’s growth by showcasing the rich fashion and design of the continent as well as in popularizing the African Union Agenda 2063 and the African Union Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries.  She concluded by highlighting the need to urgently develop the capacity of the creative sector to take full advantage of the cultural and creative industries’ ability to contribute to the promotion of the  continental pride and identity.      

On his part, Mr. Lexy Mojo CEO Legendary Gold welcomed all participants and thanked the AUC for co-organizing the African Fashion Business Summit. He noted that Africa has great potentials in advancing the continent by preserving its indigenous materials, products and also through the fashion industry.  

While speaking on behalf of Dr. Sandra Nwungo, Managing Director of Femaz MicroFinance Bank Limited, Mrs. Habiba, the Executive Director, spoke about the long history of microfinance and the role the industry has played in supporting the growth of women-led businesses by providing them with loans to finance their activities thereby encouraging them to become more self-sufficient and empowered. She noted that in most developing countries, micro finance banks are emerging as a key force and positively impacting economic growth through their continued support of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in which many businesses within the fashion industry currently operate.

Mrs. Habiba recommended that there should be a mechanisms set up to regulate the activities and operations of the fashion industry. The establishment of legal frameworks for quality control and universal standards for all players in the sector, irrespective of location and level of development, will promote quality service, profitability and sustainability.

In her presentation Ms. Christina Morozzi from Istituto Marangoni, (the Italy school of fashion, arts and design), mentioned that ethnical art is a source of inspiration for design. She showcased different artworks of artists from different countries ranging from; inspirations from fashion, art, furniture and design with focus on Europe-African culture. Ms. Morozzi also presented a variety of  artistic works made of wax prints and tie and dye which are part of the nonverbal way of communication among African communities and in African design on the global stage.

The inaugural African Fashion Business Summit which was opened on September 14 was the first of its kind in the continent and discussions were anchored around the theme: ‘Creating Wealth for African Economies through its Fashion, Garment and Textile Industry’.

The summit was followed by the opening of the Exhibition with participants from various African countries.

On September 15 a gala fashion show will be to be held at the AU Conference Centre from 5:00 P.M with displays by African designers.

African Union Commission




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