How the used clothes you send to Africa are killing the local textile industries.
By: Meri Nana-Ama Danquah | Posted: March 5, 2009 at 6:40 AM
It's impossible to have a conversation about fashion in Africa—traditional or contemporary—without talking about the used-clothing industry and how damaging some people say it’s been.
A whole industry has cropped up around apparel that's been donated to charities located oceans away, imported throughout the African continent and then sold cheaply in African marketplaces. These low prices undercut local retailers and undermine the entire textile and garment business in Africa.
The importing is sometimes done by enterprising individuals, but, more often than not, this huge, multimillion-dollar industry is orchestrated by charitable multinational organizations. These aid agencies' primary mission is, ostensibly, to provide various forms of relief to residents—not only in the harrowing face of disaster, but also through the challenging facts of day-to-day life. That’s one major aspect of the controversy surrounding the industry.
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