The South African Consulate General to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr Mogobo Magabe says technological advancements along with improvement of safety standards and regulations by South African footwear and leather exporters will drive safety footwear business expansion in the Middle East region. Magabe was speaking at a virtual exhibition to Saudi Arabia  and  the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted by government today.

The purpose of the virtual event was to promote South Africa’s industrial capabilities and position South African companies that manufacture footwear and leather products as suppliers of choice.

According to Magabe, the footwear and leather exports from South Africa to the UAE have significantly increased in 2020 despite the Covid-19 global pandemic, amounting to $1.5 million from $500,000 in 2019. He said the numbers only showed that the South African leather and footwear industry was proving resilient in the face of tough economic conditions.

“The overall apparel market in UAE is forecast to reach $14 billion in 2024. The women’s footwear is expected to grow to $650 million by 2024. Shoes and boots in women’s footwear dominate the sales, and slippers and indoor footwear expected to be the fastest growing, while the men’s footwear will grow to $1.5 billion by 2024,” said Magabe.

He added that there was also a growing market for industrial safety footwear not only in the UAE, but also the whole Middle East region.

“The opening of Expo 2020 from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 will drive millions of visitors to the UAE. Along with the growing population and influx of visitors, this will present a lot of opportunities to the South African footwear and leather manufacturers and exporters,” he said.

Magabe further emphasised that South Africa was open for business and there were more opportunities to be exploited to advance the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Speaking at the same virtual event, the Executive Director of the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (SAFLEC), Ms Nerisha Jairaj said as the export council they were proud of their 150 years of heritage supported by government incentives programmes that encourage world class manufacturing.

Jairaj urged buyers and investors to let go of traditional buying markets and look for alternative markets, and to also look at South Africa as their next sourcing destination.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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