Mbabane: Textile and apparel factories have to assess their performance against both domestic and international competitors so that they achieve long term success in today’s global markets, says United States Ambassador Earl Irving. He made these remarks at the second annual apparel and textile benchmarking report presentation ceremony held at Esibayeni Lodge. He said he believed in the benchmarking exercise as it helped come up with a way forward for the industry.
'This yearly report provides invaluable and in-depth information which allows the Swazi apparel industry to reflect on progress made. Doing so instills a culture of continuous improvement in the corporate environment which is critical when competing in the global market place,' he noted.
Irving said the event also allowed factory owners to reflect on their success. He noted that this year’s results indicated that performance was improving in the Swazi apparel industry. 'I encourage you to apply the knowledge gained through this exercise today. By training staff and increasing productivity, you are positioning yourselves to be globally competitive,' he said.
Adding, Irving said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at a recent African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum in Washington, noted that under President Obama’s leadership, the United States was taking a new approach in Africa. 'Clinton said Africa rooted in partnership not patronage. That means we are looking for sustainable strategies that help nations build capacity and take responsibility that give people the tools they need to help themselves,' he said.
He said the Swaziland apparel industry had to work towards the goal of remaining competitive in AGOA. 'The United States is proud that AGOA provided Swaziland with an opportunity to develop apparel and textile industry that currently employs 15 000 people. We therefore encourage factory workers to conduct strategic reviews of the industry to address a number of questions pertaining to the industry,' he said.