With its distinctive and colourful design, cloth can be used in many ways, including to decorate a bedsheet, cover up stains, or for making scarves.
However, its use in the manufacture of clothing is largely restricted to specific professions and specialised needs.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Sustainable Fabric Initiative has estimated that only a small proportion of the world’s total annual production of garments is made of cloth, with only 2% of the clothing in use.
However the main market for the textile industry in developing countries is in Africa.
It is estimated that the country’s textile exports in 2013 stood at $2.6bn.
While the country has long been a major producer of textile, it has now seen a rapid rise in its textile trade.
With the global textile trade now worth $5.3 trillion, it is the biggest in the world, and the world second largest textile producer after China.
While China’s textile sector grew from about $1.2 trillion in 2011 to $6.7 trillion in 2013, Africa has witnessed a rapid growth of its textile exports.
According to a report by the African Union, in 2013 Africa’s textile trade was worth $4.4 trillion, up from $3.9 trillion in 2012.
According the report, this rise in the textile sector was due to “a rapid growth in Africa’s apparel sector, where the market share of the major apparel brands in 2013 was up to 37% from 15% in 2012.”
Africa is now the second-largest textile market in the World after China, with the largest textile factories and mills in Africa accounting for 40% of its overall textile output.
Africa is the largest exporter of textile to Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and is the third largest exporters of textile in the European Union.
While African textile exports have grown rapidly in recent years, they remain small compared to the European market.
In 2013, African textile imports reached $4bn, up 25% from the previous year.
This figure is also a record high, and it is estimated to rise to $8bn by 2020.
With only two million jobs in the African textile industry, many African textile workers are not yet employed, and there is a lack of training in the sector.
The report said that “a lack of skilled labour means African workers are at a higher risk of contracting diseases, which is why they often do not go to the doctor when they get sick, and why they are more likely to suffer from the effects of disease”.
In addition, many Africans do not have access to basic sanitation, and many of the people in Africa have a poor access to health care.
African textile factories in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and South Africa are the major textile exporters to the global market.
This includes the Gambia, where textile exports increased by nearly 25% to $3bn in 2013.
However in 2013 South Africa’s largest textile manufacturer, South Africa Textiles, had to close its factory in KwaZulu-Natal, which it had been operating for the past two decades.
“It was not the right time to close the factory,” says Mwabela Khula, vice-president of operations at South Africa Cotton, the parent company of the South African textile brand.
“There was no money to invest in this factory.”
Despite this, the South Africa textile industry is still one of the largest in the country.
According of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, South African clothing is the seventh most valuable textile export in the whole of Africa, with a value of $2 billion.
This is made up of cotton, silk, wool, and linen, as well as leather and other finished products.
South Africa also exports textile to China, Japan, India, Vietnam, South Korea, and South America.
The South African government also maintains a large presence in the manufacturing of textile and has a number of research and development centres in the industry.
South African exports are estimated to have reached $8.7bn in 2012, with South Africa as the third-largest exporter to the world after China and India.
With more than 5 million workers, the textile production sector employs about 5.4 million people in the continent.
With an estimated annual turnover of $1 trillion, the sector has seen significant growth over the past 20 years.
“I don’t know if this is sustainable, but this is our destiny,” says Luka Kowalski, a textile worker and member of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Workers’ Council, in the Democratic Central African Republic (DRC).
“I think it’s a shame that it’s not sustainable.
It’s not only our destiny, but also the future of our country.
We are at the brink of a collapse.”