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Donate Responsibly – Not all African Countries need your clothes


Donating clothes is easy and it makes us feel good about ourselves. People presume that donated clothes are simply handed over to those in need. This does happen but the majority of the times clothes are given sold to exporters who ship the clothes to third world nations that are in need. African countries happen to be one of the most popular places for exporters to ship clothes to and while this sounds like a perfectly great idea, African countries have been receiving an excess of donated clothes.


Impact of donated clothes in East Africa

A number of East African countries have received so many donated clothes in the past few years that they are now considering banning them altogether. Just in 2014 alone, these East African countries had collected $300 million worth of donated clothes from USA and other developed countries. Although donated clothes have created plenty of jobs in these countries, they have also forced local businesses to close down. Prior to accepting donated goods, these countries have their own textile factories that sell locally.


The groups of East African countries that want to ban donated used clothes include Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. These countries have suggested that all donated clothes should be banned by the year 2019 so local businesses can once again flourish.


However, the US along with other parties are resisting the ban. The US is one of the primary sellers of used clothes in the African markets, selling millions of dollars worth of clothing every year. Other local parties that are benefiting from the second-hand clothing trade also do not want the ban. They claim that banning donated used clothes is simply not enough to reboot local production.


Used clothes vs locally produced clothes

Supporters of the ban have claimed that used clothes can instill a sense of pride amongst the local population since they will be wearing new clothes again instead of the discarded clothes of developed nations. Also, local businesses may be able to create more jobs than used-clothes businesses.


Those opposing the ban claim that local prices cannot compete with the ridiculously low prices of that the donated used-clothes market offers.


Knowing this, it becomes important to donate to those markets that actually need donated clothes.


At Whitehouse & Shapiro we make a point to only donate clothes that are a necessity. We have built strong relationships with trusted partners in foreign markets. We export baby clothes, shoes and T-shirts to certain countries in Africa, cotton sweaters to Pakistan, winter clothing to Eastern Europe and vintage clothing to Japan.

Contact us for more information on working with us.

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