The debate over second-hand clothes in Senegal

28th February, 2017

Donated to charity, used clothing is big business for the West African nation of Senegal with 18,500 tonnes imported each year.

A woman sells clothes at the weekly market of Gueule Tapee in Dakar _Ndela Faye_Al Jazeera_
A woman sells clothes at the weekly market of Gueule Tapee in Dakar (Image: Ndela Faye /Al Jazeera)

But concerns have been raised about the economic, ecological, and ethical repercussions of clothing donated to charities resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year, writes Ndela Faye for Al Jazeera News.

Senegal is slowly beginning to resuscitate its once-booming textile industry. More than $425m has been invested in the country’s largest textile factory based in Thies, about 50km west of Dakar, which closed its doors more than 15 years ago.

But with second-hand clothing available at a fraction of the price, it remains to be seen whether the revival of the local textile industry will be successful without strict government quotas on imports.

Read the full report here …

What the article fails to mention is that the money raised by charities, through the export of donated clothing, helps fund the charities’ vital community services, as well as providing affordable clothing for the people in the destination country.