Does second-hand clothing from the West hurt local production in Africa?
There is no doubt that second-hand clothing had an effect on local production in the past. However, researchers have shown that the current impact is far less than would be assumed. The greatest impact on the production of new clothing in Africa has been the rise of low-cost production in Asia. Just like in the West, most of Africa gets most of its new clothing from Asia. Even traditional Mozambican capolanas are no longer produced in Mozambique, but say “Made in India”!
Although we welcome dialogue about the effects of second-hand clothing on local production of new clothing, we believe its effect in the markets we work in is minimal.
There are two great studies worth reading:
The Impact of Second-Hand Clothing Trade on Developing Countries (Sally Baden and Catherine Barber. 2005)