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Large-scale garment manufacturing plant to boost local apparel

A partnership between a South African woman-owned textile company, IVILI Group, and the first dedicated gender focused investing Private Equity Fund in Africa, Alitheia IDF, is set to boost South Africa’s textile industry by increasing local manufacturing output, creating jobs and rebuilding skills in the sector through a $5million investment.

IVILI Group is made up of IVILI Loboya, one of Africa’s only wool and cashmere processing facilities, which is based at Ibika Industries in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, and IVILITEX, a garment manufacturing factory located at the heart of the clothing and textiles industry in Cape Town.

IVILI Loboya was co-founded by South African social entrepreneur and global director of the International Women’s Forum, the late Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati.

IVILITEX recently opened its large-scale garment manufacturing plant in Epping, Cape Town where the initial production will consist of jeanswear for the local retailer market. The factory includes a jeans wash facility, with state-of-the-art technology imported from Spain, in partnership with Jeanologia, a manufacturer of technologies for the textile industry. The factory will leverage technology that allows the production and washing of garments with optimum levels of output and efficiency while maintaining low environmental impact.
IVILITEX aims to close the gap between locally made and imported apparel in the SA garment production industry by providing a solution for local retailers seeking locally manufactured garments on a large scale.

IVILI Group has set a target to become the leading textiles group in Africa while supporting local textile companies and aims to increase locally produced apparel for the local retail industry from the current 44% to 65% by 2030.

“For us being a pioneer textiles group on the continent simply means not compromising on quality and providing a technologically advanced sustainable product to the global markets,” said the Group’s CEO, Lilitha Mahlati.

Investor, Alitheia IDF, is a $102 million private equity fund which was co-founded by South African Polo Leteka and Tokunboh Ishmael from Nigeria. The partnership with the IVILI Group fits with the firm’s investment strategy of investing in a diversified portfolio of women-owned, women-led, or women-serving Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“We are the first private equity fund manager in Africa that prioritizes growth stage companies that have gender-diversified teams across the whole business value chain with the vision and potential to scale regionally and drive economic and social transformation,” said Leteka.

The government has consistently identified the clothing and textile sector as a strategic priority due to the labour intensity of manufacturing and its potential to support sustainable industrialisation, low- and semi-skilled employment and export growth.
“Our operations are built to eventually cover the entire value chain of textiles through the local harvesting and production of raw materials, to the production of semi-processed textiles products and finally producing apparel and other products for sale as finished goods in the retail market,” Mahlati said.

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