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Strategy for Africa


Cooperation and Trade

COTANCE and its member associations,

* Proclaiming that free and fair trade in the leather sector and the reduction and eventual elimination of protectionisms of all kinds should guide all the efforts devoted in EU-Africa relations as this is in the mutual interest and in the interest of the international leather industry community,

* Affirming that

* COTANCE and its member leather trade associations can substantially contribute to the goal of economic integration of the EU-African leather industries and that the European leather industry has an economically and environmentally valid model to offer Africa
* the European Leather Industry's strive for a EU-African partnership can be developed in many areas of mutual concern and interest and at many levels of cooperation
* a framework in which these relations could evolve positively and increase the chances of a successful partnership between European and African operators is of strategic importance for maximising the positive effects of sectoral initiatives at all levels of intervention
* COTANCE should take the role that corresponds to its objectives and competencies, guiding, encouraging and supporting the initiatives arising from the European Leather Industry, notably through its member associations and aiming at the establishment of a fruitful EU-African partnership in various fields
* COTANCE as such should take part in as many initiatives as possible associated in the most appropriated way so as to symbolise the continuing commitment of the European Leather Industry to improve trade and cooperation relations with Africa

* Considering that the leather chemical and machinery industry can also contribute to the improvement of the technical and environmental performance of leather and leather products industries by supporting the efforts of the tanning industry to establish a fruitful EU-African partnership

* Recognizing that

* a trade fair acting as a focal point for industry should be driven by the business community and remain professional and free from public hand involvement as it could distort the normal functioning of the market
* a trade fair can act as a catalyst for the development of cooperation and trade between Europe and Africa and that in December 1997 "Africa Leather" has demonstrated it gathered, in South Africa, a substantial number of operators from many countries on both sides.

* Considering that

* financial support from international, European and national institutions can play a significant role in promoting trade and cooperation initiatives and funding programmes and projects favouring economic integration between the EU and Africa in the leather sector
* the combination of all actors and their inter-action towards the goal of strengthening and supporting the initiatives aiming at mutual benefits for the European and African leather sectors is the best means to achieve a sound and sustainable development of industry on both sides
* public funding and sponsoring for EU-African projects should be exploited in its full potential and in a concerted manner so as to achieve maximum results

have decided the Strategy for Africa of the European Leather Industry.


In its Strategy for Africa, COTANCE intends:

1. To approach representative African leather industry bodies and propose the establishment of a dialogue aiming at finding areas of mutual interest that can contribute to the strengthening of a EU-African partnership in the leather sector.

2. To encourage its member associations to develop relations with African counterparts serving the interests of their respective associated companies.

3. To draw up and update opportunely a list of

a) member associations expressing interest in developing trade and cooperation activities in the framework of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa
b) tanners and dressers willing to explore business and cooperation initiatives with African operators
c) component and accessories producers interested in contributing to the development of markets in Africa
d) chemical and machinery industries endorsing the COTANCE Strategy for Africa and gearing their activities in Africa towards the goal of improving the technical capabilities and the environmental performance of the African leather industries
e) leather research and training institutes in Europe showing interest in participating in public-funded projects and capable of transferring to the African leather industries the technologies and know-how corresponding to their needs and to the benefit of strengthening the cooperation opportunities between European and African operators.

4. To collect from these bodies their plans for reviewing them, possibly endorse them and recommend them for funding to the extent in which they are likely to contribute to the objectives of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa.

5. To approach international organisations such as UNIDO and FAO, the European institutions such as the European Commission, European industrial development organisations such as CDI, and any other national or international body as appropriate for support in the development of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa and the initiatives arising in its framework.

6. To give birth to "COTANCE-Development", a non-profit organisation (ONG) capable of conducting funded cooperation activities in the framework of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa.

7. To seek for funding for, amongst other:
* the establishment of an exchange programme between COTANCE and representative African leather industry bodies dedicated towards the best means for implementing the Strategy for Africa in the mutual interest
* bursaries and internship schemes for tannery students, for the personnel of associations, institutes and companies
* project proposals and initiatives of the leather industry aiming at improving the technical cooperation and economic integration of EU-Africa relations
* any project likely to contribute to the success of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa.

8. To promote free and fair trade in the leather sector and try and convince governments to refrain from protectionism both on imports and exports.

9. To engage in efforts towards lifting the performance of the African leather industries by progressively improving the hide and skin availability and quality, the processing of wet-blue, the enhancement of crust, the finishing of leather and the development of new markets for leather and leather products worldwide.

10. To report on achievements and encourage periodically at sectoral events gathering both European and African operators so as to enhance the visibility of the COTANCE Strategy for Africa.