Promoting the Cotton, Textile and Apparel and Leather industries in East Africa



A new Law in East Africa is set to ban the importing of second hand shoes. You can find quite a number of markets in Africa that sell second hand shoes and clothes, purses, that come from Europe and the US, and many people buy them. In the next 3 years though, East African countries plan on banning used clothes and second hand shoes and leather.

The East African countries include, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries make up the East African Community(EAC).

What the EAC hopes is to encourage the buying of textiles and shoes within the regions, and discontinue imports by 2019.

The EAC suggested discontinuing imports in the next three years. However, the newspaper The East African reports that it will depend on the five countries’ heads of states all agreeing to a common industrialization policy.

Why an import ban, well just like other countries dealing with jobs being outsourced, or most things being made in China and imported into a lot of countries, rather then manufactured in their original countries thus promoting jobs and people buying locally, this is what the EAC hopes for, to boost local manufacturing, and help the economy.

One complaint by the local textile factories and self employed tailors is that they cannot compete, as the imported clothes are much cheaper. So their only options are to close down or still keep open but not do as well as they could.

A release from a previous EAC manufacturing and business summit says the leather and textile industries are “crucial for employment creation, poverty reduction and advancement in technological capability” in the region.

I have bought second hand clothing from Goodwill here in the US, and they seem to have a good system, the clothes are washed and they are displayed very neatly in the stores, I don’t think here it is even allowed to sell second hand undergarments like underwear.

But the imports  to these developing regions do include used underwear or second-hand underwear, which have been labeled unhygienic.  The EAC is urging the Eastern African governments to make sure that  used-clothes imports met the specified sanitary standards.

In Ghana, they actually banned second-hand underwear in 2011 and in 2015, a bill in Uganda was proposed to also ban second-hand underwear imports.

Just how common are second-hand clothing? In Andrew Brooks book titled “Clothing Poverty,” his research found that 81% of the clothing purchased in Uganda are all second-hand garments. And According to UN figures from 2013, South Korea and Canada together exported $59m worth of used clothes to Tanzania while the UK alone exported $42m worth of used clothes to Kenya.

Mr Brooks says people believe that their clothes will be given to those in need or sold in High Street charity shops to raise funds and don’t realize that their donations will be traded abroad for profit.




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