Traditional hand weaving has existed on the African continent for centuries. However, the example of Senegal shows the plight of the craft in recent decades. Cheap clothing from the Far East, second-hand clothing from Europe, unfavourable working conditions and a lack of appreciation for this complex craft have severely hampered the sector. “However, the demand for African textiles and garments is increasing worldwide and African patterns are being recognised as truly fashionable and iconic pieces. International fashion houses are incorporating more and more African influences into their latest collections. International textile manufacturers are turning to Africa as a new source of labour and a growing consumer market. Africa is clearly and rapidly assuming a greater role in the global fashion value chain and is rapidly industrialising to take advantage of this. Instead of exporting raw materials, which are prone to market fluctuations, and importing second-hand garments, Africa is adding value to everything produced and exporting finished fashion products,” writes textile expert Skander Negasi of Trade and Fairs Consulting GmbH.

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As part of its SENTEX activities, GIZ has engaged the services of Hamburg-based weaver Andreas Möller. Based on his Flying8 loom model, he trained 20 Senegalese weavers for three weeks at the training centre of the only vertical textile mill Domitexka. First, the experienced weavers built the looms themselves. They were then introduced to the complex technology of the Flying8 with its eight pedals. The weavers, who come from three locations, will now gradually transfer their skills to young women and men. The special texture, new design and wide woven fabrics (140 cm) will appeal to new sales markets. 

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Existing production is now being expanded in Popenguine, Kaolack and Dakar in order to create more jobs in the craft of weaving. The first trade fair appearances in Europe and Africa are planned for 2025.

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