Is the banning of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes a panacea to industrialization in East Africa?

Kitojo Kagome Wetengere
African Journal of Economic Review
Publication Date
25 January 2018

The objective of this study was to investigate if the banning of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes is a panacea to industrialization in East Africa. Qualitative and quantitative secondary data were employed to validate the research objectives. The study found that most people used second-hand clothes and shoes bacause they were cheaper, good quality and fashionable. Likewise, the trade of second-hand clothes and shoes created employment, generated revenue and filled the gap during shortage. Nevertheless, the second-hand clothes and shoes trade contributed to the collapse and hamper the current initiative to revive the textiles and leather industries. Similarly, the trade has been associated with some skin diseases, had negative impact on self-esteem of the consumers and conflicted with some African values and traditions. Besides, there were some socio-economic and technical factors, influx of clothes and shoes from Asia as well as un-competitive local environment which contributed to the collapse of the former industries. In view of the above, the following were recommended: First, the phase-out of second-hand clothes and shoes should be gradual and implemented over a longer period of time (5-10 years) to lessen the impact of the ban on the lives of the consumers and traders. Second, the governments should put in place effective policies to control unfair competition of Asian products. Finally, the governments should rectify all factors that led to the collapse of the former industries and put in place a conducive business and investment environment necessary for the growth of the new industries.

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