Multimedia

Development, Trade and Labor Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa

Is investment in the garment industry in Africa a helpful development tool? The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has, since 2000, provided free access to the U.S. market for specified goods produced or processed in the poorest African countries. Most AGOA benefits are taken by oil producing countries. The largest investments in manufacturing are in the garment industry. However, throughout the world, garment industries have been the most footloose, moving from country to country following government incentives and low wages. Is investment in garment industries in Africa a development stimulus or is it part of the race to the bottom?

At a GPN conference on AGOA, the Garment Industry, Labor Rights and African Development, held on January 10, 2008, it was agreed that GPN should encourage the continuation of this discussion by putting relevant materials on-line.

Reports

An Assessment of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and its Implications for Namibia,[PDF] from LaRRI.

Footloose Investors: Investing in the Garment Industry in Africa,[PDF] from SOMO – Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations

Conference Presentation

AGOA, Apparel and African Development, from Kimberly Elliott, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, and Peterson Institute [Powerpoint] [Acrobat PDF]

Conference Audio

Listen to entire conference [stream]

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Segment 1 [stream] [download]
Welcome
Tony Avirgan – Global Policy Network Organizer, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Opening Remarks
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), Co-Chair, International Workers’ Rights Caucus

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Segment 2 [stream] [download]
Moderator, Bama Athreya, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)

Panel Discussion I. Africa’s Textile and Garment Sector: What do Workers Need?

Presentation, Report, “Footloose Investors: Investing in the Garment Industry in Africa” [PDF]
Esther de Haan – Senior Researcher and Project Leader, Garment Industry, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

Respondents: African Labor Experts and Workers/Workers’ Representatives
Panelist Presentations
Steve Ouma Akoth – Human Rights and Governance Expert, Kenya
Matsepo Anna Lehlokoana – Organizer, Lesotho Clothing and Allied Workers Union (LECAWU)
June Hartley – Activist and International Labor Rights Expert, South Africa

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Segment 3 [stream] [download]

Panel Discussion II. Labor Rights in Trade and Development Loans: A History of Enforcement in Sub Saharan Africa

Moderator, Tony Avirgan – Global Policy Network Organizer, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Panelist presentations and discussion
Jeff Vogt – Global Economic Policy Specialist, AFL-CIO
Peter Bakvis – Director, Washington DC Office, International Trade Union Confederation ( ITUC)
Dan Henkle – Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, Gap Inc.

Q&A and Pre Lunch Wrap Up

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Segment 4 [stream] [download]

Introduction of the New Partnership for Development Act (NPDA)
Jayme White – Legislative Director, Office of Congressman Jim McDermott

The NPDA and Labor Rights
Carol Pier – Senior Labor Rights and Trade Researcher, Human Rights Watch

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Segment 5 [stream] [download]

Panel Discussion III. Development in Sub Saharan Africa and the Role of the Textile Sector

Moderator, Tony Avirgan – Global Policy Network Organizer, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Panelist presentations
Claude Fontheim– CEO, Fontheim International, LLC
Kimberly Ann Elliot – Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Mark Levinson – Chief Economist and Director of Policy, UNITE-HERE

Q&A

Broad discussion forum with all participants

Concluding Remarks
Tony Avirgan, Global Policy Network Organizer, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
Bama Athreya, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)