Stocksak: Benin exports cotton to develop a domestic textile industry


© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO – Workers at a shirt-making plant in the Glo-Djigbe Industrial Zone, Abomey-Calavi (Benin), October 13, 2022. REUTERS/Coffi Seraphin Zounyekpe


By Pulcherie Adjoha

GLO-DJIGBE in Benin (Stocksak – Hundreds of young people assemble and cut cotton shirts at a large factory floor located in southwestern Benin. It is part of a major push to develop the country’s textile sector.

According to government figures, Benin is Africa’s top cotton producer and has produced 728,000 tonnes annually in 2020/21. It exports almost all the raw materials, with most going to Bangladesh.

An initiative to create employment and revenue by processing cotton locally is now underway. The goal of the initiative is to export apparel to consumers markets in Europe, Asia and Africa.

“We have decided in this country that we will no longer sell this cotton raw. Letondji Beheton (managing director of the Glo-Djigbe Industrial Zone GDIZ), 45 km from Cotonou, stated that they intend to transform this cotton and in particular, by installing integrated textile factories.

GDIZ was founded two years ago through a partnership between government and Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms. (Arise IIP) is a pan-African venture that is partly owned by Africa Finance Corporation.

Beheton stated that more than $1 billion has already been invested in the zone, which will include textile factories, cashew processing units and pharmaceutical processing units. Only 25% of it has been completed.

Although systems are not yet in place for getting cotton from the field to the factory, GDIZ has begun training approximately 1,000 garment workers using imported materials.

Leonard Madjaedou (46 years old) said that when the Glo-Djigbe plant starts its activities, I am certain that we will earn even more.” He had previously benefited from government assistance to boost his yields.

Beheton stated that in 13 months the industrial zone will create 15,000 jobs in three textile factories, which will have a total processing capacity of around 40,000 tonnes of cotton fibre.

He sees a multibillion-dollar industry that could process the majority Benin’s Cotton.

There are many West African countries that grow cotton, including Mali and Togo, Burkina Faso, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. However, most of the cotton is exported raw, with very little industrial processing.

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