ZimTrade engages Dutch Leather Expert

ZimTrade has engaged Mr. Hans Akkerman, a senior PUM Leather and Textile expert , who is currently conducting a scoping exercise of the leather sector in Zimbabwe. Mr. Akkerman has over 40 years’ experience in advising manufacturers in the EU and South America on Strategy, Organisation, Marketing and Technology.

The expert is engaging more than 20 manufactures of leather products and footwear in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Marondera and Kadoma. The engagements are aimed at identifying ways to improve the operational efficiency of these manufacturers thereby repositioning the sector as a key player in exports. This will be achieved through knowledge transfer from the PUM experts in designing, cutting, stitching/assembling, finishing, product mix, costing, factory layout, as well as recommendations based on best practice.

The Leather and Leather Products Sector has been identified by Government as one of the priority sectors with quick wins as it has a great potential for value addition. In 2012, a 5-year leather sector strategy was launched with the main objective of reviving the leather sector into a vibrant industry that contributes to the nation’s economy through value addition. The strategy identified the need to improve value addition and output through technical training, which is fulfilled by such initiatives as the PUM assistance.

SMEs in the sector formed clusters to better coordinate production and marketing. The clusters members, in Bulawayo and Harare have been facilitated by ZimTrade to participate at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and at Source Africa in South Africa. COMESA also facilitated some members to participate at the Zambia International Trade Fair in 2015.

According to the Trade map, global imports of leather products and footwear in 2015 increased by 7% from US$123 billion in 2011 to US$132 billion, with handbags and leather seats increasing by 33% and 15% respectively. Zimbabwe’s exports of footwear increased from US$1,3 million in 2011 to US$2 million in 2015. Exports of handbags also increased from US$75 000 in 2011 to US$102 000 in 2014.

Zimbabwe was the first country in Africa to be awarded the franchise to manufacture brands like Nike, Adidas, Bubble gummers, North Star, Power and Puma. With appropriate technical intervention, the industry can regain lost market share and once again meaningfully contribute to global leather products and footwear trade.

Publish Date: Thursday 10 November 2016



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