The African Union wants member states to ban the importation and use of second-hand clothes popularly known in East Africa as ‘Mitumba.’
That was among the resolutions from the African Union High Level Private Sector Forum held in Nairobi, Kenya as the AU wants the local textile industries to be revived in sync with traditional attires.
The call to ban the importation of second-hand clothes came up after it was observed that ‘Mitumbas,’ had deleterious impact on the garments and apparels home industry.
Furthermore, it was observed that the ‘Mitumbas,’ have health-related negative effects on people.
Delegates called for the transformation of the productive capacities of the textile and apparel industry in Africa, in addition to appropriate policies that support the development of the value chain.
Before the invasion of ‘Mitumbas,’ Arusha City in Tanzania and Jinja town of Uganda used to be hubs of Textile industry in East Africa.
During the Nairobi forum it was also tabled that AU Member states should develop innovation centers in the five African regions to promote African fashion based on the common cultural identity.
The forum called for investment of substantial budgetary resources in the garment and apparels sector while emulating the best practices of countries that have taken this path such as those in East Asia and other parts of the world.
The African Union Commission was called upon to promote the consumption of local African textiles through the integration of African fashion shows into major African events.
African designers were asked to be consistent in their products to effectively compete on the international market and to promote offshoring of African Brands elsewhere on the continent.
Gracing the forum were Dr. Amany Asfour, the President of the African Business Council, Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Customs, Trade and Monetary Affairs, , and Mr. Simon Kaheru, Member of the Board of Directors of the East African Business Council.
In another development, the forum observed that for such industries to flourish, the continent needs reliable power and energy.
African Union Member States were thus urged to ensure technologies are upgraded to address power leakages that arise from poor metering and delayed replacement of meters.
AU Members were further urged to invest in essential energy infrastructure at the same time remove barriers to private investors with interest in this sector.