UNESCO: Africa can become one of the world's fashion leaders
Lagos, Oct 26 (EFE).- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) assured this Thursday in a new report that Africa "has everything necessary to become one of the next world leaders of fashion".
"Fashion is really taking off in Africa, and this report shows that it can develop even further," said UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay, presenting the institution's report during Lagos Fashion Week in Nigeria.
"The potential is enormous, not only for the economy, but also for the inclusion of youth, the empowerment of women and for African culture to resonate around the world," he added.
According to the UN organization, for the African continent “fashion is an engine of creativity, economic development and innovation,” and has the capacity to “create jobs, especially for women and young people.”
Africa is a large producer of raw materials, UNESCO recalled, since 37 of its 54 countries recognized by the UN are cotton producers and it is an exporter of textile materials worth 15.5 billion dollars a year.
However, insufficient investment and infrastructure, unfavorable legislation and high fabric supply costs force Africa to import textiles, clothing and footwear worth $23.1 billion a year.
In its report, UNESCO highlighted four main challenges that governments and policymakers "must address if they want to harness the potential of the fashion sector in Africa."
These include the need to strengthen legal protection for designers and professionals, to invest in small and medium-sized businesses, to establish environmental standards, and to improve the "transmission" of knowledge.
Faced with this scenario, the UN institution indicated that there is a "growing Made in Africa fashion trend", especially among young people under 25 years of age, who represent half of the total population.
The director of Lagos Fashion Week, Omoyemi Akerele, highlighted that Africans identify those products designed and manufactured in Africa as "a symbol of pride and a way of affirming their identity."
UNESCO counted up to 32 "fashion weeks" held across the African continent, a region that "brims with talent in the fields of haute couture, crafts and clothing."
"Demand for African haute couture is expected to increase by 42% over the next 10 years," the organization said.
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