Inspired by encouraging domestic garment sales, Kenya is putting in place policy reforms to boost local textile production and reduce the use of second-hand clothes in the country. It may be noted here that Kenya alone imports around 1,00,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes, shoes and accessories a year – many of which were originally donated to charity shops in the west countries.
Kenya’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Adan Mohamed commented that the measures include allowing textile firms in the Export Promotion Zones to sell up to 20 per cent of their garments without paying duties.
“This will allow textile firms to take advantage of growing demand for apparel products by the growing middle class and hence boost the sector,” Mohamed said. “We want to make sure our citizens have access to the high quality export products that are sold to overseas market,” he added during the launch of the Progress Report on Textile and Apparel Industry.
According to the report, Kenya’s textile and apparel exports had grown to US $ 415 million by the end of 2016, accounting for 30 per cent of industrial exports over the past five years. Kenya, however, is major importer of second-hand clothes despite its vibrant textile sector. The minister noted that increased local production will make consumers switch from purchasing second-hand clothes.
Mohamed said the Government is targeting labour-intensive low-tech industries such as textile as part of the realization of the industrialization agenda that will transform Kenya into a newly-industrializing, middle-income country.