Kenya in the past week hosted key players in the textile and apparel industry from India, Africa and Middle East in a bid to link global business leaders with their African colleagues.

The ITME Africa & Middle East 2023 summit, which ran from November 30 to December 2, was organized by the India ITME Society, the backbone of the textile industry in India.

The summit, which was held at the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi targeted key players in the textile technology and engineering sector in Kenya and Africa.

India ITME Society Executive Director Seema Srivastava says the event benefited the textile industry value chain, including manufacturers, exporters, investors, agents, cotton farmers, entrepreneurs, dealers, and distributors.

Srivastava said the event, hosted in Kenya for the first time, availed chances for the players to expand their business in textiles or explore diversification of their business into textiles.

“ITME Africa 2023 is sure platform to reboot, reinvent, and rejuvenate the Textile Industry of the continent with innovative solutions from across spinning, weaving, processing, and accessories segment,” said Srivastava.

The key summit was graced by the Industry PS Dr Juma Mukwana, EPZA Board Chairman Richard Cheruiyot as well as India Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya Rohit Vadhwana.

ITME AFRICA and Middle East 2023 was touted as the entry for textile technology and engineering in education, skills development, joint venture investments and sourcing of new markets.

60 exhibitors from India showcased their latest products including Lakshmi Machine Works, Lakshmi Card Clothing Manufacturing Company, Laxmi Shuttleless Looms, Lathia Rubber Manufacturing Co and Colorjet India Limited.

Others included Yamuna Machine Works, Simta Machinery, Erhardt+Leimer (India) Ltd, Elgi Electric And Industries Limited, Krsna Engineering Works, ATE Enterprises Private Limited, The Indian Card Clothing Co Ltd and Kaeser Compressors Ltd.

EPZA Board Chairman Richard Cheruiyot. PHOTO/EPZA

Also showcasing their latest solutions and innovations in textile manufacturing will be exhibitors from Kenya, Italy, China, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Ethiopia, and Taiwan.

Kenya exported textile and apparel to the US worth Sh4.5 billion in 2022 through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), according to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The sub-sector realized a 7.2 per cent increase in capital investment from 2018 to 2022 with the textile and apparel sub-sector accounting for 7 per cent of Kenya’s total exports in 2022.

Between 2018 and 2022, 36 firms with a capital investment of Sh24.88 billion employed 66,260 people and generated exports worth Sh54.12 billion, according to media reports.