Africa is home to seven of the fastest growing economies in the world and about 70 percent of the continent’s population live in countries that have experienced average growth in excess of 4 percent over the past decade. Although the statistics are interesting, African fashion industry currently contributes only a small fraction of what it is capable of contributing to the continent’s GDP, says Deola Sagoe, a Nigerian designer, who has been a force in the industry for the past 25 years.
According to Sagoe, African fashion can become a $15.5 billion industry in the next five years, as personal incomes increase and the continent’s economies grow. The International monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that sub-Saharan Africa would continue its impressive economic growth in 2014, picking up from 4.9 percent in 2013 to about 5 1/2 percent this year. This growth highlights the potentials of the industry, which has been said to be yet to reach its full potentials.
African fashion has enjoyed massive media presence in recent times, which means the world is now aware of the industry and the capabilities of its designers. Several designers from the continent today feature in international fashion shows; 10 African designers are participating at the Africa Fashion Week New York, which joined the prestigious New York Fashion Week last week. Fashionistas around the world and prospective investors alike have had another opportunity to see African creativity first-hand.
The success of some African designers on the international scene has shown the world that given the right investment, African designers can compete on the world stage. Investors sure have been watching the industry for a while and have watched it grow this much; now is the time to invest.