The African Development Bank's flagship initiative, Fashionomics Africa, has launched the pilot phase of a digital marketplace to help Africa's fashion designers, textile and accessories professionals connect with global markets.
The launch took place recently, at the Global Gender Summit, a gathering of more than 1,500 representatives from multilateral development banks, finance institutions, governments and private sector leaders in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace website and mobile app, sponsored by the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance, is the latest innovation from Fashionomics Africa, a platform enabling African entrepreneurs from the textile, apparel and accessories industries to create and grow their businesses, with a focus on opportunities for women and young people.
"It is the first-ever B2B [Business-to-Business] and B2C [Business-to-Consumer] platform that has ever been created for, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that are working along this value chain," the Bank's Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, said at the launch.
"It is all really for connecting business to business, businesses to consumers and ensuring we are putting into place all we need to really transform the clothing and fashion industries in Africa," she added.
The Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace and mobile app provides relevant market information, like market prices for textiles and clothing or listings of trade conferences, to increase transparency in the sector.
The aim is to connect suppliers, buyers, manufacturers and distributors to consumers and investors - to increase access and grow markets. To facilitate trade within Africa and worldwide, the digital marketplace and app operate through secure e-commerce and online payment systems.
"The Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace will be a game-changer for Africa's fashion entrepreneurs, to be able to reach regional and international markets and increase their revenues," said Mahlet Teklemariam, Founder of Hub of Africa, an Ethiopia-based fashion platform that promotes African brands.
GCR Upgrades Afreximbank Rating
- Global Credit Rating (GCR) has announced an upgrade of the African Export-Import Bank's (Afreximbank) long-term international scale rating from BBB+ to A-.
- GCR also affirmed the Bank's short-term rating at A2 and the outlook as stable.
In the announcement released in Johannesburg, South Africa, the rating agency said in granting the upgrade, it acknowledged Afreximbank's tenacity and resilience in managing risks in its operating environment, which was generally perceived to be high risk.
"The ratings on Afreximbank balances its significant exposure to high risk operating environments, fairly strong and diverse membership base, demonstrated preferential creditor treatment, strong status within the region and good track record of fulfilling mandate, beyond adequate current levels of capitalisation, strong risk position, stable funding and good liquidity position," stated GCR.
According to agency, the new rating also captures the Bank's key strength in structured trade finance which demonstrates its ability to de-risk its lending portfolio through high quality collateral comprising cash, insurance from highly-rated insurers, sovereign backed securities, assignment of receivables (which transfers repayment risk to OECD countries), amongst others.
"This upgrade confirms stakeholders' deep confidence in Afreximbank's compelling credit story, which is punctuated by hard work and an innovation culture," said Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, in reaction to the announcement. "Afreximbank is committed to continuing to develop and implement innovative risk management approaches in the management of its lending book and capital."
Oramah described the upgrade as a major milestone in the Bank's history and said that, coming half way into the implementation of the Bank's current strategic plan, it supported the fulfilment of one of the overarching pillars of that plan, which was financial soundness, by positioning it to leverage competitive financial resources into the Africa.