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Kenyan textiles get duty relief

Kenya is putting in place a policy to boost textile production.

Measures include allowing textile firms in export promotion zones to sell up to 20 per cent of their produce locally without paying duties. This will allow textile firms to take advantage of the growing demand for apparel products by the growing middle class and hence boost the sector.

The aim is to ensure citizens have access to the same high quality products that are sold to overseas markets. Kenya happens to be a major importer of secondhand clothes. It’s hoped increased local production will make consumers switch from purchasing secondhand clothes.

The Kenyan garment sector remains relatively small, with just 40,000 workers.

In Kenya, like many other African countries, the domestic textile industry has suffered because of the race to the bottom by global brands seeking out low-cost labor. Most artisans are trapped in domestic markets without links to international trade. Now some companies are trying to challenge this norm by sourcing artisans from marginalised communities to produce their fashion lines.

Kenya’s textile and apparel exports grew to 415 million dollars by the end of 2016, accounting for 30 per cent of industrial exports over the past five years.