From Africa to China, cotton remains an important commodity across the world, but four states from West Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali (also known as the Cotton 4 countries) - have taken the initiative and applied to the United Nations General Assembly for official recognition of World Cotton Day on 7 October.
To give this initiative a boost, the World Trade Organization hosted a day of technical sessions, trade diplomacy and festive events in Geneva.
World Cotton Day was attended by government ministers and heads of organizations, including the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the International Trade Centre.
Addressing dignitaries and participants, International Trade Centre Executive Director Arancha González said cotton was at the heart of ITC efforts to ensure sustainable development through trade on the African continent. ITC, she said, works to support value creation at the source so farmers can earn more for their families.
Experts at an afternoon panel discussed various approaches to value-addition in the cotton sector in the African continent.
Later a pop-up boutique opened for visitors where they could shop for beautiful African cotton apparel and lend support to artisans associated with the industry.
World Cotton Day ended with a colourful fashion show organized by the International Trade Centre. This displayed the potential of the African cotton industry to cater to the world.