WP 02/066 - An Analysis of the Spatial Distribution of the Clothing Textile Industry in SADC

Eckart Naumann

Date of Publication: 
April 2002

This paper focuses on the clothing and textile industry in the SADC region, with specific reference to the locational characteristics and developments of these two industry sectors over the last decade. The study links the economic and spatial characteristics of the clothing and textile industries, looks at the current situation and analyses the drivers and barriers to industrialisation and location. Significant economic, political and social importance is attached to these sectors, especially in the light of the recent developments within SADC and trade agreements with the US and the EU. In order to further stimulate the development of the clothing and textile industry, as well as draw up relevant policy to ensure regional competitiveness and continued economic growth, awareness of the industries' locational distribution in the region is important. The paper finds clothing and textile production in the region to be highly polarised, with the industries being drawn to the more developed markets, as well as the surrounding lower-(labour) cost countries (having ready access to the South African market). Regional integration is one of the key criteria for the continued attractiveness of the region to the clothing-textile pipeline, as firms seek to build competitive supply linkages in order to improve their local and international competitiveness. These developments are to a large extent driven by the changing international trade environment.

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