South Africa: A Market for Clothing from Africa

The clothing industry can be an important employment generator for many African countries. Clothing imports into South Africa rose over a five-year period to US$ 1.1 billion in 2009, making it the world’s twenty-fifth largest importer of this product group. Most imports were from Asia. However, some Asian exporters are becoming less competitive and countries like Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi and Mauritius have been making significant inroads into the market. They offer sterling examples of what needs to be done for African countries like them to gain entry into South Africa. South Africa: A Market for Clothing from Africa describes some attractive market niche opportunities and highlights some issues critical to entering the South African market that are especially relevant to African exporters. It aims to guide exporters in developing countries—mainly in Africa—on how to access the burgeoning and almost entirely import-reliant market for clothing in South Africa. It provides insights that would be useful in designing an initial marketing strategy and in preparing for an exporter’s first sales visit to the market. This technical paper is one of a series of sectoral market studies in BRICS (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa) countries.