In the context of growing competition from Asian countries, there has been much talk lately about the future of textile, which has long been the pillar of the country's manufacturing industry. The Economic Development Board, as part of its mission as facilitator for the National Economic and Social Council, organised a workshop on the textile and apparel industry on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April. Several speakers, including international experts, talked about the challenges facing this industry and about its future.
What lies ahead for the local textile industry in a context marked by increased competition on the international market? This was the theme of the latest workshop of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) held at the Ravenala Attitude, in Balaclava, under the aegis of the Economic Development Board (EDB). This two-day workshop highlighted the challenges currently faced by the textile and apparel sector. Stakeholders also analysed future prospects and ways to make the industry more competitive, thanks, in part, to the adoption of new technologies.
“The Mauritian textile industry has undergone several developments over the last 50 years. Following the end of preferential agreements, and the opening of the international market to Asian operators, especially China, at the beginning of the last decade, the industry is left with the only option to revisit its process so as to remain relevant. The discussions during these two days allow us to have a shared vision of the local textile industry as of now and to devise new strategies to be adopted in order to sustain this industry,” said Charles Cartier, Chairman of the EDB, who delivered the opening speech of the workshop on Thursday 18 April.
As for François Guibert, who gave an overview on the current state of the local textile and apparel industry, he insisted on the viability of this sector, stressing on the fact that it needs to reinvent itself, not only to the international context, but also in terms of new processes that affect operations, especially in the wake of technological progress. “We have an industry with a solid foundation, but it still faces many challenges. It can, however, overcome them if entrepreneurs quickly adapt their production processes, for example by using new technologies,” he says.
Other speakers during the two-day consultative workshop were Géraldine Bouchot, Director of Trends & Forecasting at Carlin International Trend Bureau, Eddy Yeung, Director at Groupe Ciel, Professor Prasad Potluri, Professor in Robotics and Textile Composites form the United Kingdom, Kavi Oogarah, from RT Knits, Beas Cheekhooree, Managing Director of MCFI, Pete Santora, Chief Commercial Officer at SoftWear Automation, Luvna Arnasalon, UN Compact Focal Point and Head of Corporate Sustainability at AfrAsiaBank, and Geerish Bucktowonsing, Head of Department at the Economic Development Board. Mahen Seeruttun, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, who also chairs the NESC's Commission on Economic Affairs, delivered the opening speech on Friday 19 April.