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Ghana's Second Highest Importer Of Used Clothes From UK   
 
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12-Feb-2015  
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Ghana is the second highest receiver of used clothes (obroni wawu) from the United Kingdom (UK).
According to a 2013 figures from the United Nations Comtrade Database, Ghana spent $65 million on importing used clothes from the UK.

These clothes according to the BBC were donated to charity homes but ended up being bought by new owners as they were traded off for profit.

The UK is the second largest used clothing exporter after the US. It exported more than £380m ($600m), worth of discarded fashion overseas in 2013.

The 10 top destinations in 2013 were Poland, Ghana, Pakistan, Ukraine, Benin, Kenya, Hungary, Togo, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and The Netherlands, the UN figures indicated.

Effect on Ghana’s economy

Dr Andrew Brooks, a lecturer in development geography at King's College London, in his book Clothing Poverty, believed that the flow of old clothing from the Western world as well as the availability of cheap, new garments from East Asia - has had a negative effect on local textile industries in many countries. 

This was particularly so in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a third of all globally donated clothes are sold, he said.

Dr Brooks pointed to Ghana as an example of a country where local industries have been particularly negatively affected.

According to him, Ghana’s textile and clothing employment fell by 80% between 1975 and 2000. 

How do the used clothes end up on a street market in Ghana?

The international journey of cast-offs begins when charities sell on the clothing that cannot be retailed in the UK's 10,000 charity shops.

According to Dr Andrew Brooks, as little as 10-30% of what is given to UK charities overall actually ends up being sold over the counter. 

What isn't bought in shops is, more often than not sold to textile merchants, who then sort, grade and export the surplus garments - converting what began as donations into tradable goods, Dr Brooks said.

One of those businesses transforming UK’s cast-offs is London-based family firm LMB Textile Recycling. 

Director Ross Barry and his staff collect the contents of clothing banks - sometimes on behalf of charities - and check them by hand for quality. Those that pass the test are baled together and exported to the company's regular customers in Eastern Europe and Africa, where the garments are highly valued. 
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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