Product Development Centre Inaugurated In Accra

Mrs. Ann-Clara Lukoman(right) briefing  Mr.Simone Cipriani(third from right)and Mr.Gehard Burgger,Swiss Ambassador to Ghana ,at the opening of the Product Developmenty Centre.photo Daniel  AmooA Product Development Centre (PDC) under the Ghana Ethical Fashion Project (GEFP) which is meant to build the competitiveness of local fashion designers on the export market was inaugurated in Accra yesterday.

Located at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) Clothing Technology and Training Centre at the North Industrial Area, the PDC is equipped with modern sewing machines to assist local designers to produce quality and fashionable dresses for the international garment market.

The GEFP, a four-year programme, is being funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland with an amount of   $347,000.

An initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC) under its Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI), the programme is focused on reducing poverty through the generation of trade opportunities for marginalised communities and their micro-producers in the developing world.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Chief Director of the MOTI, Mr. Darwanoba Baeka, said the PDC formed part of an on-going MOTI and Swiss Government initiative to create a highly competitive fashion industry in Ghana.

He said the PDC would help Ghanaian designers to produce quality and fashionable dresses which met international standards.

Mr. Baeka said the project would also help the local players in the garment industry to produce for the American market under the African Growth and Opportunities Act, which African governments currently are negotiating with the US government to be extended.

“Ghana did not fully take advantage of the AGOA initiative and I hope the GEFP will help to reverse it, if the initiative is extended,” he said.

Mr. Baeka said to protect the local designs which would be produced for the international market under the GEFP, an Intellectual Property Right Law has been developed and an office to implement the law would be established next year.

He appealed to the Swiss government to support the second phase of the project to assist the   beneficiaries to export to the international market.

The Chief Technical Advisor of the ITC-EFI, Simone Cipriani, said though Ghana had beautiful designs, most of the Ghanaian designers could not compete on the international market because their dresses did not meet international standards.

He said the project would help local designers to produce quality local designs and link them to the international market.

The Switzerland Ambassador to Ghana Gerhard Brugger, said his government was committed to supporting initiatives which would help improve the capacity of the players in the local garment industry to compete favourable on the international market.   By Kingsley Asare & Bridget Aazore Yuora

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