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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Tanzania empowers youth as regional
ban on used clothes, shoe nears

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has started empowering youth with tailoring skills as part of the country’s preparation towards implementing regional directives of banning the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019.

Jenista Mhagama, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled affairs, said on Saturday her that the move is part of the government’s mission to implement directives made by the East African leaders early this year, who announced total ban of second-hand clothes from getting into the region from European countries and North America.

On March 1, this year, EAC leaders met in Arusha and announced a plan of banning the importation of the used garments by 2019 in a move aimed at encouraging local production and development within member countries-Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

“We’re determined to end the importation of used clothes and shoes by 2018,” said the minister.

“We have organized series of training for young Tanzanians so that they are well-equipped with tailoring skills, who will be employed in the current clothes-making factories and those which are coming in,” Mhagama said, adding that the move is also in line with the government’s industrialization plan.

For instance, the minister said: “There are clothes-making factories which have been established in the country and they are ready to train more than 2,000 youth annually.”

According to the minister, youths are trained on designing fashions, cutting, tailoring and other related skills.

“We want as more youth in this industry so that they are employed within the country,” the minister said, noting that Tanzania produces enough cotton to feed the current and the coming industries.

It is estimated that East African countries including Tanzania imported 151 million dollars worth of second-hand clothing last year, most of which were collected by charities and recyclers in Europe and North America.

According to UN figures from 2013, South Korea and Canada combined exported 59 million dollars worth of used clothes to Tanzania while the Britain alone exported 42 million dollars worth of used clothes to Kenya.

In the 1970s, east Africa’s clothing manufacturing sector employed hundreds of thousands of people, but when the debt crisis hit local economies in the 1980s and 1990s, local manufacturing struggled to compete with international competition and factories were forced to close.

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