Many people in Africa buy second-hand clothes sent from Europe and the US. But East African countries could ban imports of used clothes and second-hand cars in the next three years, putting an end to a lucrative trade in the region.
Who wants to ban second-hand clothes and cars?
Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda could all ban second-hand clothes and leather. They make up the East Africa Community (EAC). The EAC directed member countries to buy their textiles and shoes from within the region with a view to phasing out imports by 2019. Before the meeting on Wednesday, the EAC also proposed a reduction in imports of used cars.
When will the ban happen?
The EAC suggested phasing out imports in the next three years. However, the newspaper The East African reports that it depends on the five countries’ heads of states all agreeing to a common industrialisation policy. It adds that the proposal suggests a ban would only come in after an increase in local textile production.
Why do they want an import ban?
The idea is to give a boost to local manufacturing, and help the economy. One argument is that the imported clothes are so cheap that the local textiles factories and self-employed tailors can’t compete, so they either close down or don’t do as well as they could. Read more