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04.06.2014

The global business of secondhand clothes thrives in Kenya

NAIROBI (Reuters) Shaded by ragged squares of canvas, amid choking Canada Goose Parka dust and the noise of hawkers, shoppers in Nairobi Gikomba market can turn up Tommy Hilfiger jeans or a Burberry jacket for a fraction of the price in London Regent Street or New York Fifth Avenue.

A vender sells Canada Goose sale pineapples next to a second hand stall at the Gikomba market cheap Canada Goose in Nairobi September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

But there a catch: the clothes are all secondhand, discarded as worthless at canada goose clearance charity shops or thrift stores in Europe or the United States and then shipped thousands of miles 2018 canada goose outlet to another continent, occasionally in such pristine condition that an original canada goose clearance sale price tag is still attached.

Kenya imports about 100,000 tonnes of secondhand clothes a year, providing the government revenues from customs duties and creating tens of thousands of jobs. It also offers quality clothes to Kenyans, many of whom earn less in a month what a pair of new Ralph Lauren khakis costs in the West.

To critics, the business raises the perennial problem of how Africa can build its own industry when it is flooded with cheap imports. But traders in Gikomba do not see it that way.

a source of employment, said Clement Shuma from behind a pile of secondhand trousers canada goose coats his speciality that includes British high street makes like Topman and Next, and sometimes more internationally well known labels like Levis or Benetton.

that person who not well, who earning little, at least can afford a piece of cheap (clothing), at a lower price instead of buying new, canadian goose jacket he said, adding prices ranged from 400 to 1,000 shillings ($4.50 $11.20) per item, depending on quality and brand.

It is a common scene across Africa, with Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Uganda and Kenya among the biggest markets. They provide clothing to many on a continent of 1 billion where economies may be growing but many canada goose coats on sale Africans struggle to Canada Goose Outlet get by.

if you see our people, the knees are torn. you can see the thighs, said Regina Wanjiku, a used clothes importer and wholesaler canada goose outlet store locations at Gikomba, describing the sartorial challenge before the business took off two or three decades online website ago when Kenyans depended on more expensive local products.

NEW COMPETITION How the trade has grown, in part, reflects the economic changes that have swept the continent. Until the 1980s, high tariffs Canada Goose Online protected home grown garment and other businesses.

Then economic liberalization programmes, backed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, started taking hold in Kenya and elsewhere. Tariffs were lowered and local factories had to contend with new competition. Many failed and shut.

Some industrialists say importing secondhand clothes, known in Swahili as undermines Kenya own garment makers.

has hurt badly the domestic market, said Rajeev Arora, executive director of the African Cotton Textile Industries Federation.

He said 85 percent of Kenya textile plants had closed since the early 1990s, while cotton output was a tenth of 1990s levels.

Other experts say it was not the used clothing imports that drove factories out of business, but inefficient production.

Dorothy McCormick, a University of Nairobi professor who has researched Kenya textile trade, said locally produced clothing was highly subsidised by the government and had always been too expensive to supply the domestic market.

People go about their secondhand stall bussiness at the Gikomba market in Nairobi September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

filled a gap in the market, cheaply, she said.

Kenya, a nation of canada goose 44 million people, is now building up a new garment making business, but the focus this time is on https://www.arconserve.ca exports. Kenyan factories exported garments worth $335 million in 2013 and the business employed 40,000 people, says Jaswinder Bedi, a Canada Goose online Kenya based director of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation. market.

HAWKER TO IMPORTER Nairobi City Council estimates that about 65,000 people work in Gikomba, Kenya largest market, with some people sharing stalls or working on different days of the week. In addition, there are a dozen or so smaller markets in Nairobi, and other markets around the country, creating more employment.

The informal nature of much of the trade makes it difficult to estimate precise numbers, though researchers and officials suggest it may employ hundreds of thousands.

Banks have spotted an opportunity and, since 2007, several have opened branches next to Gikomba to serve the traders.

actually follow the customer, from maybe a hawker to an importer, said Benjamin Karanja, a spokesman for Family Bank, which operates at the market. buy canada goose jacket cheap as they grow, we also grow.

He estimated the canada goose deals market turnover was $1.1 million a month.

The route from donor to new owner, described by officials, exporters, wholesalers, traders and academics, canada goose replica takes the used clothes halfway around the world with the money made at each canada goose black friday sale point racking up to a multi million dollar global business.

creates new livelihoods and it creates new value in a commodity, which canada goose store otherwise would buy canada goose jacket have been dumped, said David Simon, a geographer at the Royal Holloway, University of London.

At Kenya Mombasa port, customs agents collect duties of 1.2 million shillings or more per container, officials and traders Canada Goose Jackets say. Canada Goose Coats On Sale Although officials did not have total revenue figures, the state statistics agency said imports canada goose outlet toronto factory amounted to 100,000 tonnes worth about $90 million in 2013 alone.

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