Tunisia’s young fashion designers get clothing industry boost from GTEX MENATEX programme

7 February 2020
ITC News

A fourth group of textile and clothing enterprises in Tunisia to receive support from ITC’s GTEX MENATEX programme was formed during a meeting with beneficiaries in late January 2020 – now with a focus on young fashion designers.

Previously assembled clothing industry sub-sector groups have focused on manufacturers of jeans and denim clothes, lingerie and beachwear manufacturers, and manufacturers of work and protective wear.

The new sub-sector group for young Tunisian fashion designers comprises 17 companies, all of which were selected following a call for applications.

‘The launch of the 4th sub-sector group allows young designers to integrate well into the industry and add an element of creativity and originality – elements often missing in traditional companies,’ said Matthias Knappe, Programme Manager for the GTEX MENATEX programme.

The launch took the form of a TEDx-style presentation where each young designer presented their brand, their journey, their vision and their expectations of GTEX MENATEX. Tunisia’s Minister of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises Slim Fériani, Anna Block Mazoyer, Ambassador of Sweden in Tunisia, and Etienne Thévoz, Ambassador of Switzerland in Tunisia attended the event.

Knappe said promoting young designers was important: ‘It is essential that the programme works with young people in order to link them to the main clothing sector in Tunisia and to strengthen their capacity to export.’

In Tunisia, the textile and clothing industry is crucially important as the sector ranks among the leading suppliers of manufacturing jobs. Employing more than 160,000 people, the sector represents around 20% of the market share of Tunisian exports.

GTEX MENATEX has a budget of $2.46 million, supporting 50 Tunisian companies in the textile field to benefit from this programme. They are encouraged in their production to move from subcontracting to the export of finished products and the development of collections. The programme plans to:

• improve the business environment and the performance of trade support institutions in the sector
• improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the textiles and clothing sector

The new sub-sector group will have the same approach adopted for the previous three, and run until 2021.

The GTEX MENATEX programme is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Swiss Confederation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), focusing on six priority countries (Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan and Tunisia). The programme aims to encourage exports of textiles and clothing from developing countries to promote employment and income generation throughout the value chain.