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President Thabo Mbeki visited Tunisia in November 2004 and meet with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to promote trade and business Partnerships between Tunisia and South Africa. Good relations were established between the two countries, which opened many doors for South Africa in Tunisia, also for the exchange of ideas on the fashion and textile industry. Eventually this gave birth to the conceptualisation of the Fashion In Africa project.

Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, has taken the lead in promoting traditional fashion as an economic development project. The National Office for Tunisian Handicrafts (ONA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce and Handicrafts, has been promoting a new line of Tunisian fashion since 1996. To stimulate the creation of clothing that is inspired by the traditional Tunisian dress but meets the needs of modern life, the annual Golden Khomsa competition was introduced. The Fashion In Africa project was designed to complement the Golden Khomsa initiative.

Designs from both upcoming and established designers are promoted in the Fashion In Africa project. To this effect, established fashion design institutions and schools in Tshwane and Tunis have been involved in a set process to select the best designs for the event. The selection process itself will give young designers a prime opportunity to grow. The selected emerging designers will also have the opportunity to share the floor with renowned designers of Tshwane and Tunis, meet with potential trading partners and benefit from business-to-business meetings, networking and training seminars.

Introduction to the Fashion In Africa project...

The cities of Tunis (Tunisia) and Tshwane (South Africa) have embarked on a joint venture to promote African fashion and culture. The pilot project, Fashion In Africa, is to be hosted by the City of Tshwane and will be launched from 5 – 6 May 2006 at the Wonderboom Airport.

The launch will be in the form of a fashion show that will bring together the northernmost and southernmost capitals of Africa, hence the theme: “When north meets south”. Although the fashion show will focus on designs from Tshwane and Tunis only, it will set the stage for other African countries to join the project in the years after and help unite Africa through fashion and culture. Partnering with African countries to promote African fashion and culture is thus in the pipeline.

The Fashion In Africa pilot project is a joint venture of the Municipality of the City of Tshwane and the Tunisian Embassy. The fashion show is run under the auspices of the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, and is fully endorsed by the Municipal Manager, Mr Blake Mosley-Lefatola, and the Ambassador of Tunisia in South Africa, Mr Ali Goutali.

The project lends support to President Mbeki’s initiative to enhance trade opportunities between Tunisia and South Africa. It also supports the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

The project is now in its final planning phase. Further details regarding the 2006 fashion show will be made available in the local and national media and on this website.

Absa Bank



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