An increasing competitive economic landscape has meant that over the past decade the opportunity for fashion retailers and manufacturers to expand into Africa has grown significantly. For many fashion brands, South Africa has provided a stepping stone into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, reports Jim Pickles, Senior International Trade Adviser, Apparel and Fashion, at UK Trade & Investment London
With Africa’s collective GDP expected to grow by $1 trillion by 2020[i], growth opportunities further north and outside the traditional wealth hub of the region are on the rise. Over the past decade, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African and half of the global increase in population over the next 40 years will come from the continent. Even the sheer size of the region, with a population of 949 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone, makes it hard to ignore.
The rise of a youthful demographic, urbanisation and a growing middle class has fuelled a demand for designer and labelled clothing in Africa. Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by more than £260 billion by 2020. The proportion of people with disposable income in Africa is the fastest growing in the world, predicted to reach 1.1 billion individuals by 2060.