Panafrica Manifest

How it all started

PANAFRICA was created in December 2015 by Hugues and Vulfran, two childhood friends. Hugues had been working in Africa around the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Congo - Brazzaville. Before coming back to France for a holiday, he bought some African fabric in a market in Adjamé and teamed up with Vulfran who designed the first models for PANAFRICA.

A few months later Hugues and Vulfran launched PANAFRICA with one ambition: to make sneakers in a different way, respectful of those who produce them while remaining aware of the environmental, economic and social impact of their undertaking.

A message from the founders: ‘Our desire is to develop a project which is socially and economically responsible. From the buying of the raw materials to the creation of the models we are intent on developing a sustainable and respectful project’.

PURCHASING THE FABRIC

Wax fabric

So as to support the local economy we buy mainly in West Africa.

The wax market in Africa today is completely chaotic due to the arrival of Chinese wax, often fake material of inferior quality and two or three times cheaper than a wax fabric produced in Africa (a Chinese wax costs on average 9 euros; a wax printed in the Ivory Coast sells between 20-30€).

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana or the Ivory Coast many factories have closed down as they are unable to resist such competition.

In order to support local industries, we make every effort to buy our fabric and material from suppliers in West Africa.

Partnership with Uniwax – a wax printing factory in the Ivory Coast.

In order to favour the traditional treatment of the fabric and to contribute, albeit modestly, to maintaining the wax industry in West Africa, we have entered into partnership with Uniwax in the Ivory Coast. This partnership enables PANAFRICA to buy high-grade fabric locally.

Uniwax is part of Vlisco group which includes 4 others brands :

  • Vlisco made in Helmond, Holland

  • Uniwax made in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

  • GTP made in Tema, Ghana

  • Woodin made in Ivory Coast and Ghana

Fabric woven in Burkina Faso

PANAFRICA has entered into partnership with Afrika Tiss as part of the programme Walk For School. To have a positive impact on the whole chain of production PANAFRICA guarantees a fairly negotiated price for part of the production from the Textile Excellence Centre in Burkina Faso.

Given the social, sanitary and environmental advantages of chemical-free farming, Afrika Tiss obtains the bulk of its supply from Ivatex. (source : Afrika Tiss link)

Very shortly PANAFRICA will be using this type of fabric for certain of its models.

The Workshop

Our sneakers are made in Morocco, near Casablanca, in a workshop which respects the workers’ rights.

No-one loses out

In order to support the development of the workshop and to guarantee long-term employment PANAFRICA is committed to producing one collection over six months. This enables us to avoid the pitfalls of mass production over short periods and ensures every worker: on-the-job training specific to the PANAFRICA chain of production, improved working conditions (transparency and lasting contracts), a workload spaced out over a longer period of time.

  • A different way of working
  • Respecting workers’ rights and conditions

A different way of working

From the very beginning we have always endeavoured to be proud of what we make. Over the years our suppliers have become genuine partners with whom we are constructing a sustainable project. Every month we visit the factory to check that everything is going ahead as it should be concerning quality and within our ethical framework.

Respecting workers’ rights and conditions

The workshop has been certified by an outside organisation and respects the rules of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) guaranteeing a code of social responsibility and ensuring that PANAFRICA sneakers are manufactured in compliance with workers’ rights. Every employee enjoys:
- A work contract and a guaranteed minimum wage
- Paid holidays (3 weeks a year)
- Health cover
- Regular job training and high quality management.

The #walkforschool Programme

Thanks to your purchases PANAFRICA supports projects for access to education and job training in Africa. For each pair of sneakers you buy, PANAFRICA donates 10% of its profit to various associations.

We pay particular attention to our partnerships. We choose our partners using the following criteria:

  • GRASS ROOTS KNOWLEDGE
  • GLOBAL ACTION
  • LASTING PARTNERSHIP
Read more about this Programme

GRASS ROOTS KNOWLEDGE

Our partners fully understand the local situation and are thus able to answer the population’s needs in material and equipment. They also help to choose the schools, organise the training centres and monitor pupils’ progress.

GLOBAL ACTION

Apart from the project with PANAFRICA our partners are involved in global actions for children and young adults : schooling, job training, health care, etc.

LASTING PARTNERSHIP

Our aim is to act over the long term through durable partnerships in order to help communities throughout the year and for as long as necessary.

The Challenges ahead

PANAFRICA is a project with a global dimension, a project for the future. Like all projects, it needs time.

PANAFRICA is trying to construct a fair and sustainable project.
Our ambition is to push further ahead without being afraid to question our choices and actions. There are many challenges ahead.

Here are some of the main ones:

  • Our environmental footprint: how can we reduce it?
  • Cotton: moving towards local fair trade purchase.
  • Leather: limiting its use
  • The Walk for School programme: our contribution…
prochain defis
prochain defis

Our environmental footprint: how can we reduce it?

We seek to favour short commercial channels so as to have a lesser impact on the environment. That is why our main supplies of raw material come from Africa. Nevertheless, the wax fabric bought in West Africa is systematically sent to France to be reinforced before being sent to our factory in Morocco. For the present, our factory isn’t equipped to handle this stage of production. We are working on ways of improving our logistics.

Cotton: moving towards local fair trade purchase.

The cotton cloth used for PANAFRICA models comes for the most part from Spain or France. Our wish in the medium term is to buy the cotton from the producer countries in West Africa (mainly Benin and Burkina Faso) to favour a fair trade exchange with small producers. This remains a real challenge: we must solve problems of transport inside Africa; we must look at ways of protecting our material; we must make sure we are dealing with trustworthy suppliers.

Leather: limiting its use

We use leather for certain PANAFRICA models. We are aware of the environmental impact (linked mainly to the use of chemical dyes) and of the ethical problems that causes. We use a low chrome tanned leather for the reinforced pieces of our models (heel, eyelets). We are also looking at ways of moving away from animal hides to more vegan-friendly materials.

The Walk for School programme: our contribution…

The Walk for School programme has a strong social impact in the countries where PANAFRICA is active. However, the problems linked to education and job-training are further-reaching: the difficulty of access to the job-training centres, pupils who drop out, the lack of infrastructures and qualified teachers. Our programme is not an end in itself. It is a means of strengthening collective actions which are already underway.