14 June 2023 11:00 - 12:30

register now

Opportunities for circular textiles exports to the EU: The case of Kenya

banner event 14 june.png

On 14 June 2023 from 11:00–12:30 CEST, ECDPM, Gatsby Africa and Solidaridad are hosting an online event: 'Opportunities for circular textiles exports to the EU: The case of Kenya'. 

The global fashion and apparel industry is often associated with environmental degradation, waste, pollution, and human rights and labour issues across the value chain. The EU aims to transition towards a circular model not to only address the negative impacts caused by the existing linear system, but also promote a more resilient and inclusive fashion industry that takes into account human wellbeing. The recent Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is an EU initiative to move towards a greener and more circular textile sector. In practice, it includes an increasing set of sustainability-linked standards and requirements for businesses outside the EU to access the EU Single Market.

Africa’s thriving textiles industry is pivoted towards the international market, including the EU and creates significant jobs. Yet, most suppliers are i) stuck in low-added value activities - i.e. apparel assembly, and struggle moving towards higher value addition activities like textiles manufacturing or design; and ii) have limited negotiating power over buyers or larger suppliers/investors to engage in greater value addition. This can undermine African countries’ industrialisation objectives.

In this context, what does the changing policy landscape in the EU for a green and circular economy mean for exports from a country like Kenya as it seeks to fulfil its ambitions for industrialisation? Where are some of the main opportunities and challenges for textile businesses? What lessons can be drawn from other countries such as Ethiopia? How can EU-Kenya cooperation in this area be designed to achieve the objectives of the circular economy as well as economic development?

These are some of the questions that will be discussed during this online event.  ECDPM will present the findings of their report on this topic followed by a panel composed of circular textile experts and practitioners, textile businesses, and policymakers from Africa and Europe. 


Introductory remarks
Antoinette Tesha, Director, Gatsby Africa

The Kenyan Climate Amendment Bill and the impact on the textile industry
Wangui Kaniaru, Partner, ALN Kenya

Support to firms in Kenya on circular textiles
Joseph M. Nyagari, Textiles and Apparel, Deputy Director, Gatsby Africa

Circular textile opportunities in Kenya - presentation of ECDPM report
Karim Karaki, Head - Economic recovery transformation, ECDPM

Panel discussion moderated by Jeske van Seters, Senior policy officer – Sustainable African economies and climate action, ECDPM
Senay Mehari, Deputy General Director, ETUR Textile PLC Ethiopia
Chema Triki, Industrialisation expert
Kalayu Gebru, Project Manager, Textiles, Solidaridad Network Ethiopia
Teka Abebe, Ministry of Industry, Government of Ethiopia
Guiding questions for Kenyan actors to draw lessons from other experiences:
1.     What are some of the key opportunities and challenges in circular textiles that firms in Ethiopia face where they do export?
2.     What has been the experience of getting large scale investments in circular textiles in Ghana?
3.     What aspects need to be taken into account when providing firm level support for circular textiles in a country such as Ethiopia?
4.     What can policy support in exporting countries such as Ethiopia look like?

Q&A session

Concluding remarks, Antoinette Tesha, Director, Gatsby

ECDPM staff involved

Watch the recording