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Top 5 West African producers of Ankara and their market dynamics

Top 5 West African producers of Ankara and their market dynamics

By Stephen Onyekwelu

Ankara, also known as African wax print fabric, holds significant cultural and economic value in West Africa.

The region is home to some of the largest producers of this vibrant fabric, each with unique capabilities and strategies for both local supply and international expansion. Here are the top five West African countries leading in Ankara production.

1. Nigeria

Local Market Capacity

Production Capacity: Nigeria is the largest producer of textiles in West Africa, with an annual capacity of over 1.4 billion metres of fabric.

Key Producers: United Nigerian Textile PLC, Nichemtex, Sunflag Nigeria Limited, and African Textile Manufacturers Ltd.

Challenges: Inconsistent power supply, outdated machinery, and competition from cheaper Asian imports.

International Presence

Export Value: In 2020, Nigeria’s textile exports were valued at approximately $32 million.

Market Reach: Significant exports to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Europe, and neighbouring African countries.

Strategies: Emphasis on meeting international quality standards, participation in trade fairs, and leveraging the AfCFTA to expand intra-African trade.

2. Ghana

Local Market Capacity

Production Capacity: Ghana produces around 65 million yards of fabric annually.

Key Producers: Vlisco Ghana (formerly GTP), Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), and Printex.

Challenges: High production costs, competition from counterfeit imports, and the need for technological upgrades.

International Presence

Export Value: Ghana exports textiles valued at about $8 million annually.

Market Reach: Strong presence in the African diaspora markets in Europe and North America.

Strategies: Promoting Made-in-Ghana products, partnerships with international brands, and aggressive marketing through social media and e-commerce platforms.

3. Côte d’Ivoire

Local Market Capacity

Production Capacity: Côte d’Ivoire has a production capacity of around 30 million yards annually.

Key Producers: Uniwax (a subsidiary of the Vlisco Group) is the leading producer.

Challenges: Political instability, fluctuating cotton prices, and competition from Asian imports.

International Presence

Export Value: The country’s textile exports are valued at approximately $5 million annually.

Market Reach: Primarily exports to Europe and West African countries.

Strategies: Leveraging the reputation of Uniwax, focusing on high-quality production, and exploring new markets through digital channels.

4. Senegal

Local Market Capacity

Production Capacity: Senegal produces around 20 million yards of fabric annually.

Key Producers: SOTIBA and Nouvelle Societé Textile Sénégalaise (NSTS).

Challenges: Limited industrial capacity, competition from cheap imports, and need for modern production techniques.

International Presence

Export Value: Textile exports are valued at around $3 million annually.

Market Reach: Significant exports to France and other European countries, as well as neighbouring West African markets.

Strategies: Promoting traditional and contemporary designs, participating in international trade fairs, and improving quality standards.

5. Benin

Local Market Capacity

Production Capacity: Benin has a smaller but growing textile industry with a capacity of around 15 million yards annually.

Key Producers: AGETEX and local artisanal producers.

Challenges: Small-scale production, lack of investment in technology, and high operational costs.

International Presence

Export Value: Benin’s textile exports are valued at approximately $2 million annually.

Market Reach: Exports mainly to Nigeria, Togo, and other West African countries.

Strategies: Developing niche markets for traditional designs, enhancing artisanal production methods, and promoting textiles through cultural events.

West Africa remains a vibrant hub for Ankara production, with each country bringing unique strengths to the industry.

Nigeria leads the pack with its massive production capacity and strong export initiatives, followed by Ghana’s robust local market and international presence.

Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Benin, though smaller in scale, contribute significantly to the regional dynamics with their distinct strategies and market approaches.

The challenges faced by these countries, such as competition from cheap imports and the need for modernisation, are significant.

However, the opportunities presented by digital platforms, international trade agreements like AGOA and AfCFTA, and a growing global appreciation for African fashion provide a pathway for sustainable growth and increased market share. By addressing these challenges and leveraging their strengths, West African producers can continue to enhance their influence in the global Ankara market.