The debate on whether to ban second-hand clothes is not new, several African countries have previously mulled the idea of banning the importation of second-hand clothes from America and Europe.

It comes as no surprise that the East African Community (EAC) is contemplating putting into action the proposed ban in order to boost the manufacturing industry, and help grow the region’s economy. Members of the EAC, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are contemplating the ban, The East African reports.

Amidst the growing unemployment and poverty, the importation of second hand clothes provides a lifeline to the unemployed, while the cheap clothes, often of high quality are irresistible for customers.

Flags of East African Community member states: Photo Nation Media Group
Flags of East African Community member states: Photo Nation Media Group

The downside of allowing these imports is undoubtedly the slow death of the textile/manufacturing industry and the EAC plans to intervene and revive the dormant industry until it’s too late.

Besides the economic and policy considerations, critics of second-hand clothes and goods often raise the health element and argue the goods are a health hazard, particularly second-hand underwear seen by some as unhygienic.

While some countries have tried to put a stop on the import of second-hand clothes, the business remains lucrative and continues to flourish. Last year, in Zimbabwe the ban on second-hand clothes was reversed after the National Assembly said the policy was insensitive to the poor.

Given the prevailing debates and merits of implementing policies to boost the manufacturing, should the EAC proceed with banning second-hand goods, particularly clothes?

Source: The East African