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Reading: World Trade Organisation and FIFA unveil ARISE IIP’s innovative products.
Reading: World Trade Organisation and FIFA unveil ARISE IIP’s innovative products.

World Trade Organisation and FIFA unveil ARISE IIP’s innovative products.

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In a ground-breaking collaboration aimed at transforming lives and livelihoods in Africa, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have participated in the unveiling of cotton products from ARISE Integrated Industrial Platform (ARISE IIP).

The partnership, aimed at utilising products made in Africa as a catalyst for economic inclusion, was championed by ARISE IIP at a special event held in Abu Dhabi, convened around the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, and attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and former Nigerian minister of finance and WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

At the heart of this initiative lies the Cotton-4 plus (C4+) program, designed to harness the power of football to drive economic growth and empowerment in developing nations. Through the C4+ initiative, FIFA aims to spotlight the economic significance of cotton production in West Africa, particularly in countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali.

Infantino emphasised the transformative potential of football beyond the pitch, stressing the need to create tangible impacts on the lives of people, according to a report by FIFA media. Speaking passionately about the initiative, Infantino said: “It was my pleasure to shine a spotlight on FIFA’s ‘Cotton-4 plus’ (C4+) initiative in partnership with the WTO ahead of the 13th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi. The cotton produced in these countries is of top, top quality. But the world doesn’t know about it, right. So, together with the WTO and other partners, FIFA wants to do something real, something concrete, something impactful, and something that will have an influence on the life of many people in C4+ countries. We want to create jobs. We want to help in the fight against poverty. We want to empower women – especially in these countries – and this is something that we need to pursue and push.  #FootballUnitesTheWorld’’

By expanding the football economy beyond Europe, Infantino believes that the potential for economic growth and poverty alleviation is immense, with Africa poised to play a pivotal role in this transformation. Infantino reiterated FIFA’s dedication to supporting countries worldwide, particularly those with limited resources, through initiatives such as Football for Schools, which aims to utilize sportswear produced in C4+ countries.

WTO Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emphasised the untapped economic potential of the sports apparel market in Africa, stressing the need to create value-added products on the continent.  Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “A very successful side event on cotton, designed to assist the Cotton 4, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, + Cote D’Ivoire, develop the cotton value chain in Africa. Through a partnership with FIFA, UNIDO, Afreximbank, ICAC Cotton, ITC News, IFC, the Better Cotton initiative and the Private Sector, we hope the Cotton 4 + can tap into the $270 billion football and sports apparel market.”

Prior to the end of the event, the FIFA President, the WTO Director-General, together with FIFA Legends Christian Karembeu, Khalilou Fadiga and FIFA Member Associations Africa Director Gelson Fernandes, unveiled the new ‘Partenariat pour le coton’ branding which will be used for more impactful engagement in leveraging sports for greater industrial and socio-economic growth.
The event brought together ministers and senior officials from across the WTO’s 164 member states as well as key partners, aiming to generate progress on key international trade discussions that aim to foster development.

FIFA and the WTO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September 2022 to explore how best to use football to promote economic inclusion in developing countries with a focus on the WTO’s cotton programme, as well as regular high-level exchange and discussions.

Cotton is a vital cash crop for the West African C4+ countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali – as well as in Côte d’Ivoire. The cotton produced in these countries is among the most sustainable in the world however, most is exported as a raw material rather than finished product. If that could be changed to mean the field-to-fabric cycle is completed in the C4+ nations, they would gain a greater share of the football apparel market revenues.

GDIZ, in Benin: Jointly promoted by ARISE IIP Finance Corporation (AFC) & the Republic of Benin, Glo-Djigbe Industrial Zone (GDIZ) is a multi-Product industrial Park spread across 1,640 hectares.

The zone will host few of the largest processing units in Africa for cashew, soya beans and shea amongst other agricultural commodities. GDIZ will also be one of the largest integrated textile hubs on the continent with end-to-end capabilities of processing ginned cotton into yarns, fabrics, and eventually ready-to-wear garments.

Overall, the zone is expected to generate 60,000+ skilled jobs across agricultural processing, industrial goods manufacturing, automotive manufacturing & textile production by 2025.

ARISE IIP, a developer and operator of world-class industrial ecosystems across Africa, their trusted partnerships with governments and investors across the African continent have enabled them to execute large-scale projects that transform local value chains and industrialise countries in an environmentally sustainable way.

As part of their investment portfolio, ARISE IIP has a Public, Private, Partnership with the Government of Gabon for the establishment of the Gabon Special Economic Zone, a multi-sectoral industrial park located 27 km from Libreville.

On 1126 ha, it includes an industrial zone, a commercial zone and a residential zone. ARISE tailor-made special economic zones in Gabon, Benin and Togo seek to boost exports, enable the local transformation of raw materials, and promote trade, and these are opportunities that Sierra Leone can tap from with its new relationship with a reputable company that has proven record in their work.

The Special Economic Zone brings together 144 companies from 16 countries operating in 22 industrial sectors, including a cluster dedicated to wood processing which brings together 84 companies.

In Sierra Leone, ARISE IIP is seeking to establish the Koya industrial zone. This asset, in line with ARISE IIP’s ambition to unlock Africa’s industrial potential, will support the Republic of Sierra Leone in advancing the country’s industrialisation agenda.

Within the construction, ARISE IIP will invest USD 120 million in the development of the SIZ – Koya (Sierra Leone Industrial Zones), the result of a public-private partnership between ARISE IIP and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

The SIZ-Koya integrated industrial zone is designed to host companies specializing, among other things, in agro-industry, timber processing, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods manufacturing, electric vehicle manufacturing, and cement and tile manufacturing.

With a track record and vast knowledge in investing in Africa, ARISE IIP is a company that should be embraced in Sierra Leone and be provided with the support to be able to succeed in developing the country’s economy and create jobs in a country whose unemployment rate continues to rise.

ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) is a pan-African developer and operator of world-class industrial parks committed to making Africa thrive. We identify opportunities in commercial and industrial value chains across Africa, and conceive, finance, build and operate the necessary infrastructure, playing a catalytic role in supporting countries to transition to an industrial economy. We are driven by the pursuit of green growth; our ambition is to unlock the continent’s industrial potential while neutralising our carbon emissions and climate impact. ARISE IIP is currently present in Benin (GDIZ), Togo (PIA), Gabon (GSEZ), Côte d’Ivoire (ZIC), and more. GSEZ was ranked the world’s best special economic zone in the timber sector (2020 FDI ranking).

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