Adjusting to Chinese Ascendancy in the Global Clothing Industry (Africa South of Sahara)

That African clothing exporters have seen their exports decline in the face of Chinese competition is not surprising. What is puzzling is that the decline has been far from uniform across countries. The literature points to both internal and external factors that could account for export decline or stabilization. But a better understanding of why certain countries have fared better than others is needed before the trend can be reversed.

Researchers will investigate the situation in five countries with significant experience in clothing exports (Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius and Swaziland) and two that are eligible to export under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), but whose exports remain small (Ethiopia and Tanzania). They will trace Chinese ascendancy in the global clothing industry, analyze trends in each of the study countries' exports to the United States and the European Union, examine each country's clothing sector profile and underlying institutions, and collaborate with stakeholders to apply the project findings. The project is also expected to enhance African research capacity in the area of clothing and footwear.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Saturday, March 20, 2010

End Date

Monday, October 15, 2012


24 months

IDRC Officer

Okwi, Paul

Total funding

CA$ 405,200


North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, United States


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Professor Dorothy McCormick


University of Nairobi

Institution Country


Institution Website