The East Africa Shift in Textile and Apparel Manufacturing: China-Africa Strategies and AGOA’s Influence

by Weiyi Wang, Jinghao Lu, and Wilmot Allen

An emerging shift of the Cotton-Textile Apparel (CTA) value chain from China to East Africa has been influenced by China’s excess capacity, lower labor costs, duty-free incentives for exports to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and its related Third-Country Fabric Provision. For East African countries, taking this opportunity to integrate the currently fragmented cotton-textile-apparel value chain could bring remarkable trade and economic growth to the region. For China, the largest textile and apparel manufacturer in the world, it is an opportunity to both transfer its excess capacity and increase investment into East Africa. Based on field research and case studies on four African and Chinese textile manufacturers in Kenya and Ethiopia, this policy brief highlights several opportunities for both East Africa and China as influenced by AGOA and makes recommendations on public-private collaboration to support this shift.

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