Africa-Europe Mayors’ Dialogue: Milan-Freetown Partnership on Fashion and Textile Industries
The Africa-Europe Mayors’ Dialogue is a platform of twenty African and European mayors aiming to change the dominant narrative of migration between Africa and Europe, focusing on the opportunities that connecting cultures and people can bring to cities in both continents and the vital contribution of migrants to economies and societies. In this framework, the cities of Milan and Freetown are working together to create opportunities for exchange and collaboration between their fashion/design industries and creative communities, such as skills exchanges between designers, broker networks and alliances amongst textile manufacturers, and to support business development and investment in Sierra Leone’s fashion industry.
In Freetown, the objectives are:
- To establish and support the National Fashion & Design Council including Sierra Leonean designers and manufacturers (based in SL or abroad)
- To create and consolidate the ‘Made in Sierra Leone’ brand to help position the country in global fashion markets
- To implement a long-term skills development and training program alongside targeted mentoring and business development services.
In Milan, this partnership will support fashion industry efforts to investigate sustainable dyes, textiles, and ethical sourcing options and explore innovative commercial partnerships with stakeholders in Sierra Leone, as well as wider opportunities in West African markets.
The action is expected to create partnership, nurture collaborations and jumpstart business ventures within and between Freetown’s and Milan’s fashion industries, creating new and better jobs in the Sierra Leonean creative businesses, as well as investment opportunities for Italian companies. In Freetown, the action will have positive impacts on the governance of the fashion system and the capacity of both its individuals and its fashion and textiles industry, as new and enhanced ties with the Italian businesses and agencies will boost employment, commercial opportunities and beneficiaries’ capacities to contribute back home. In Milan, the action will create an opportunity to further investigate sustainable supplies and techniques, explore the West African market, and capitalize on an emerging “Made in Sierra Leone” brand, while igniting and consolidating managed and legal migration channels.
The impact of the action will be evaluated through the achievement of the following expected outputs:
- Creation of a National Fashion and Design Council of Sierra Leone
- Establishment of partnerships and business ventures between Sierra Leonean and Italian entrepreneurs/companies
- Launch of new and/or enhancement of existing businesses by talent Sierra Leonean designers and creatives (especially women and youth) in the fashion industry
- Traineeships of Sierra Leonean students in Italian universities and institutes through circular and international mobility scheme for talents and graduates.