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