Liberty & Justice (L&J) commits to building a coalition of public and private sector partners with the goal of driving $45 million dollars of apparel export revenue to Africa in the next 3 years. Building off of the company's success with Haggar Clothing Co., L&J will launch Made in Africa, a network of 5 factories, creating 2,000 jobs, and empowering 1,800 women workers to achieve better education and health outcomes for their families. L&J will do this by marketing African manufacturing partnerships to international clothing brands and manage the programs throughout the sales and delivery cycle. Each partner will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) making a multi-year commitment to source an annual sum from African factories in order to generate sustainable jobs for women and girls. Made in Africa will work to build capacity within the network of African factories that will deliver for the buyer/partner. Membership in the network will allow participant factories to gain access to purchase order financing. Liberty & Justice will continue to provide value chain management support throughout the life of the buying program to ensure sustainability. Made in Africa will provide capacity building to its network members to empower their respective employee-workers through improved access to education, financial literacy, household infrastructure improvement, and healthcare.
This Commitment will serve as a launching pad to expand the network to East Africa and Southern Africa over the next 5 years. As the first women-owned cooperative, fair trade social enterprise apparel manufacturer in Africa, L&J has expertise in manufacturing partnerships with apparel companies seeking to build Africa's economy and grow their individual respective bottom-lines, and using the GIIRS rating system to improve factory productivity and to gain access to affordable purchase order financing to grow revenue and profit.
In Month 1 Made in Africa will have 2 member factories in operations in Liberia and Ghana.
By Month 8 Made in Africa will have grown to include 3 additional member factories in Liberia and Ghana. All member-factories will be trained on Made in Africa principles (which can be measured using the GIIRS ratings index.)
By Month 30, 8 apparel partners will have signed MOUs to place $45 million worth of manufacturing orders with Made in Africa member factories to be produced by month 36.
By Month 36 the 5 member factories will have created 2,000 jobs
By Month 36 $45million in apparel manufacturing revenue will be generated.
By Month 36 One hundred percent of employees will have a bank account opened in their name, access to healthcare visits, and improved access to education for their dependents.
Apparel exports from African factories to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) peaked at $1.7 billion in 2004. African apparel exports to the USA sharply declined in 2005 and remained in decline until bottoming out at $788 million in 2010. The decline stemmed from the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement (MFA) in 2004 which set quotas on exports from supplier countries, which greatly affected large Asian exporters including China. Before expiration, Asian exporters sent orders in excess of their quotas to Africa.
The $1 billion decline in exports caused significant job losses in African apparel factories from 2004 through 2010 as buyers moved their business out of Africa and back to Asia. The majority of those jobs were held by women living at the base of the pyramid. However, in 2011, exports from Africa increased for the first time since the expiration of the MFA based on the fact that producing in Africa is now the economical choice. The stage is now set for Africa to regain $1 billion of apparel exports.
Made in Africa (MIA) is a social enterprise that seeks to spread a Future Factory model of ethical manufacturing and empowered workers across the African continent. One of the key barriers to factory development is lack of access to capital; MIA resolves this by providing Trade Financing loans. In addition to enabling growth, these loans are structured to improve each factorys environmental, social, and governance practices. As factories improve their impact (e.g. via paying living wages, providing empowerment programs, adopting renewable energy, etc.), they become eligible for lower-interest loans. This represents a concrete and highly innovative mechanism for impact; Made in Africa believes this is the first time that the cost of capital has been tied to ESG performance in this way.
Made in Africa is currently looking for financial support to develop its Trade Financing Fund. The target size for the fund is $500,000 over the next 12 months, and Made in Africa is currently seeking grant funding to seed the fund. The impact of the trade financing program will be evident in how quickly MIA partner factories progress towards improved social and environmental impact, while simultaneously scaling their businesses and providing more living-wage jobs.