Kenyan Government Releases Protocol

Kenyan Government releases protocol to allow importation of used clothing to resume.

Today the Kenyan Government has issued a new protocol that will allow the importation of used clothing/textiles and shoes to resume.

The protocol provides information on what they consider to be best practices on the importation and sale of used textiles and shoes and how the supply chain operators must conduct their operations whilst ensuring the health and safety of the sellers, importers, wholesalers and buyers from the risk of spread of COVID 19.

Originally imports of used clothing (often referred to as Mitumba locally) were suspended in March by the Government, which cited concerns about the possible spread of the coronavirus through used clothing.

Since then the TRA (with help from the UK government), Bureau of International Recycling and various other national associations have been presenting scientific evidence indicating that such imports are safe and trying to persuade the Kenyan government to allow the trade to recommence.

Alan Wheeler, Director of the Textile Recycling Association has said that “the publication of this protocol is a very significant development which we anticipate will formally allow to imports to start again in the weeks to come. Whilst we have been working behind the scenes to engage in conversations with the Kenyan authorities to seek solutions that are mutually beneficial, I think much credit has to be given to the recently formed Mitumba Association of Kenya (MAK), who have made seemingly excellent representations to their Government and have some really encouraging proposals to help develop their industry and give it the recognition and credibility it deserves.”

The Textile Recycling Association looks forward to engaging further with the Kenyan Government and MAK to help deliver mutually beneficial economic and sustainable goals. The formation of MAK also demonstrates how the voice of traders can be made stronger and more persuasive through the formation of recognised trade associations. We would encourage traders in other countries to look at what has been achieved in Kenya, with a view to forming their own association in their country if one currently does not exist.