At a partners conference on cotton jointly organized with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) end of July, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) urged donors to mobilize resources for new partnerships.
Creating partnerships were essential to move the cotton sector in Africa forward, including the Cotton-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), said Coke-Hamilton.
At a “Call for Action” signing ceremony that involved WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other partners and authorities, the Cotton-4 countries welcomed a pledge from the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) to provide up to $300,000 grant-matching funds to support the cotton value chain development in African countries between 2023 and 2024.
“Cotton is more than a commodity. It’s more than just transforming fibre into apparel or home textiles. Cotton is a way of life and a road to sustainable development,” the Executive Director noted. “It is a way to address broader development concerns to promote decent jobs and environmentally friendly, sustainable, and fairly priced products.”
By helping cotton producers add value, ITC works to creating better lives, employment opportunities for women and youth, as well as contribute to Africa’s industrialization efforts and operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
ITC projects also seek to transform African cotton in a sustainable manner in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Developing better African cotton can reduce the environmental impact of textile and clothing production and mitigate climate change. When sustainability is more important than ever, African cotton offers a lower ecological footprint than cotton made elsewhere,” she said.