The Southern African Regional Clothing and Textile Industry: Case Studies of Malawi, Mauritius and Zimbabwe

"In the regional context, the SADC Trade and Investment Protocol - that is intended to further liberalise intra-regional trade in Southern Africa - has set in motion a wave of new opportunities and threats for clothing and textile firms in the region. Effectively, the global and regional trends and patterns alter the structure of the industry in the region, and together with its institutional framework affect the intra-and inter-industry relationships, supply networks, and linkages across borders. This paper seeks to establish the consequences of a changing trade and investment environment for the clothing and textile industry in Southern Africa. The study covers Malawi, Mauritius and Zimbabwe - the three largest producers of textiles and garments outside South Africa. The paper specifically analyses the linkages between clothing and textile firms and examines firm level responses in light of increased efforts towards regionalism, and the spread of globalisation. Furthermore, an evaluation of the SADC institutional framework is vital with respect to understanding what this framework is 'saying' to the clothing and textile industry in Southern Africa, and what the prospects for the regional textiles and garment industries are."