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Sierra Leone fabrics and fashion: prospects and challenges for the sector

Case/country studies

Written by Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Claire Kumar

Image credit:Labrum London studio. Image license:Photo: Marta Foresti

Given its high potential for inclusive job creation and entrepreneurship, Freetown City Council (FCC) is interested in supporting the development of the fabrics and fashion sector. It has developed a fashion partnership with the city of Milan which is home to a world-renowned fashion industry. This partnership has been developed under the auspices of the Africa-Europe Mayors’ Dialogue platform, a platform coordinated by ODI that brings together over 20 cities across Africa and Europe to work together on shared challenges related to sustainable urban development.

This case study has been produced as part of this effort. It seeks to inform industry stakeholders in Milan (and in Europe more generally), as well as development partners in Sierra Leone, and to guide the direction of the partnership between the two cities. It looks at current trends in the global textiles and apparel market and where Sierra Leonean products (both fabrics and finished items) might fit in. It focuses on capacity and constraints; explores the potential for collective action by a newly formed business membership association, and the allies that could contribute important support to the industry; concludes and discusses the way forward for the sector.