African Fashion Fund to offer COVID-19 Relief

The fashion fund aims to offer relief and economical exposure to African fashion businesses

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

Ghanian businesswoman Roberta Annan has announced that the African Fashion Fund with the United Nations (UN) will invest a large portion of their funds into the businesses of African fashion designers affected by COVID-19. 

Annan spoke to the UN on Tuesday about the decision and how the funds will be coordinated to various African designers, brands and fashion organisations from August this year. 

“We must use the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to redefine sustainability – not just for Africa but for the world,” she said from her home in Accra, Ghana. “There is luxury in our natural environments, and we have the chance to build a business model around the beauty of that luxury.”

Annan and her colleagues at the Fund have said how determined they are to use the fund as an opportunity to accelerate an existing plan of pushing African businesses into e-commerce. Annan has said that a digital platform is already in place, with the remaining factor needed being a global distribution chain to get buyers from across the globe.

The Fund has also teamed with one of the original artisans who benefited from seed grants to bring portable, foldable looms to 130 villages in Ghana and Nigeria, which will provide an entrepreneurial opportunity to women’s cooperatives to weave and sell textiles.

“It is critical that the artisans who own the craftsmanship have an opportunity to bring the world to them, rather than it being co-opted,” she said. “We are generating demand for creative outputs from Africa, but on African terms.”

Along with the African Fashion Fund, Annan will also be coordinating and leading a US$100 million Impact Fund for African Creatives that provides venture capital for growth for African entrepreneurs looking to take their businesses to scale, with an emphasis on those using sustainable materials and adhering to responsible business practices.

This kind of investment in African industry brings with it the opportunity “to press the reset button,” said Annan. “We are aligning back to the soul and focusing on people and planet while also making profit.”

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