West Africa has an opportunity to build an integrated textiles value chain, creating thousands of better jobs and introducing innovative sustainable fabric production technologies, thanks to a new partnership announced today between IFC and DTRT Apparel Group, the region's largest clothing manufacturer.
Under the agreement, IFC will support DTRT to pursue the development of a sustainable fabric mill and the expansion of the garment manufacturing factory near its operating base in Accra, Ghana. IFC's team will also explore the potential for the company to produce synthetic fibers and yarns—including from recycled materials—seeking to advance West Africa's position as an increasingly competitive global textiles cluster.
DTRT currently employs more than 3,000 staff—predominantly women—at its existing factory in Ghana, making it one of country's largest private-sector employers. Despite challenging conditions brought on by COVID-19, the company retained all of its staff throughout the pandemic by pivoting to producing personal protective equipment to support Ghana's frontline workers. The company increased its sales by 25 percent in 2021 relative to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
"Our experience with the pandemic taught us that Africa must and can depend on itself, and we are confident that we can build an integrated textile industry right here in West Africa to support that goal. IFC's expertise will help us draw that roadmap," said Marc Hansult, DTRT's Co-Founder and Co-CEO.
Despite efforts to enhance local value addition, West Africa lacks an integrated textiles value chain and more advanced manufacturing processes. The agreement with DTRT is part of IFC's strategy to create new markets, increased exports, and more and better jobs in the West African textiles sector.
"Textile manufacturing has been a creator of better jobs, a driver of exports, and the first rung of higher value manufacturing for many emerging market countries globally. West Africa has an opportunity to become the next global textiles and apparel manufacturing hub, tapping into a $1.5 trillion global market," said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC's Senior Country Manager for Ghana. "IFC is committed to supporting DTRT to make that vision a reality."
West Africa is the sixth-largest cotton-producing region in the world. The region's improving economic environments, affordable labor costs, improved and efficient ports, and short transit times to Europe and America markets combine to give the region significant comparative advantages relative to other regions globally.
Founded in 2013, DTRT operates West Africa's largest apparel factory, located in central Accra, which is supported by business development and sourcing teams in the U.S. and China respectively. The company offers textile and apparel development and manufacturing services via a unique global supply chain platform spanning three continents, allowing it to deliver quality, timely, high value and environmentally friendly solutions for large US and European apparel brands. DTRT, which stands for "Do the Right Thing", is a leader in sustainable water-free fabric applications and is deeply committed to improving the lives of its local workers, their families, and their communities. For more information, visit www.dtrtapparel.com/
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.