RE: “Ban on used clothing requires a holistic approach” (The New Times, August 5).
The article means well and hits all the correct notes such as “the intention of the ban and the goal of promoting industrialisation in the East African region is a great idea”, but for it to be successful more needs to be done to support the industry.
What you are experiencing in Rwanda is the same here (Canada and USA) as the textile industry has suffered a blow from Chinese industrial revolution. Companies here are not able to compete with those in China in terms of prices, hence the impact on the sector which continues with no expected solution in the near future… welcome to global economy.
Let me assure you that the use of second-hand clothing is also popular in this region and not only to the low class folks but also middle class.
My contribution to this discussion would be to say that banning importation of second-hand clothing is not the solution, rather the quality of the clothing, since what is sent to Rwanda and East Africa are those that could not be sold here.
Once you start putting up barriers on some goods, you may invite the same from those countries that trade with you and eventually head to a slippery slope. Like the writer put at the end, thorough preparation/studies should be done to avoid harming trade relationships.