Raising the profile of the Caribbean’s orange economy (also known as the creative economy), exchanging best practices, innovation and cultivating relations was the focus of the recently held mission of the Caribbean Export Development Agency to the 9th African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Summit of Heads of State and Government which took place from 9th to 10th December 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Caribbean Export staged a fashion showcase in collaboration with the ACP Secretariat where 80 designers from 20 countries of the Caribbean, the Pacific and Africa presented under the patronage of the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados on the evening of the 7th of December.
Prime Minister Mottley stressed the importance of initiatives such as this to the promotion and popularisation of creatives in order to raise capital and investment, stating, “We hope that we can create the logistical framework that will allow the trading to take place so that we don’t only marvel at the beauty of the designs, but we can ensure that the economics that will support the sale of the designs can make the businesses sustainable.”
Hon. Mottley continued, “We now need to popularise it and we now need to ensure that access to working capital is always there for our artists, because for most artists they don’t have the collateral to go and access funding from the banks in order to be able to expand production.”
In a separate interview, Mr. Anthony Bradshaw, Caribbean Export’s Officer in Charge explained, “Participating in activities of this magnitude is critical for us as a development agency. We have to ensure that the Caribbean is well positioned within the African, Caribbean and Pacific grouping and that the great contribution the region’s private sector is making towards our economic development is not only recognised and acknowledged but also supported by legislative frameworks.”
The ACP Fashion Show curated by Rodney Powers of the Caribbean Market Center and Socrates McKinney of Dominicana Moda, presented pieces from the Caribbean Fashion Showroom and the collection created during the Agency’s Caribbean Fashion Accelerator Pt 2 programme. One of the highlights of the show was the collection of contemporary shirts from the Dominican Association of Chacabana Producers (ACHADOM) which attracted a lot of interest from the male dignitaries in attendance.
In addition to the ACP Fashion Show, Caribbean Export presented their initiatives supported by the CARIFORUM Directorate and the European Union under the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development and Haiti-Dominican Republic Bi-National Programmes within the ACP Business Village including the work of “Manos Dominicanas”, a programme of the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, H.E. Margarita Cedeño, which supports the economic empowerment of women through the design, creation and selling of craft products.
This event also showcased the talent of other ACP regions via the participation of the Fashion Council of Fiji, made possible by the Pacific Island Forum, and the Congolese-Italian company Samboue.
This fashion extravaganza presented a practical example of intra-ACP and ACP-EU collaboration, showing how culture can unite our countries while securing a better future for our people.