The USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub boosts trade and investment with and within Southern Africa.

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Far East Textiles is an indigenous Swati, woman-owned ladies wear manufacturer that employs 650 people, 98 percent of whom are women. The company has had to lay off most of its staff since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, the fashion producer has, almost overnight, transformed its operation to focus on production of face masks and protective gowns for the country’s frontline health workers. With raw materials in short supply, the USAID TradeHub is helping link the firm with cotton fabric manufacturers in South Africa. At the same time, the firm is due to participate in USAID TradeHub-supported webinars led by U.S.-based trade promotion service provider, Bhavana World Project. According to Said Tokky Hou, the company’s Managing Director, Far East Textiles has assembled a team of 17 staff members to produce 3,000 face masks a day. With growing demand for these masks as well as gowns, the firm is encouraged by support from the Eswatini Ministry of Health, which is assisting in developing safe social distancing and sanitization measures within the factory. These measures, in turn, will allow 100 more workers to produce even more face masks and gowns.


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