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?
The Global Policy Network, SOMO and International Labor Rights Forum sponsored a one day conference on January 10, 2008 to discuss these issues.