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African nations are fed up with the West’s hand-me-downs. But it’s tough to keep them out. (Washington Post)
May 29, 2018
KIGALI, Rwanda — When spring cleaning comes around in the United States, dropping well-loved clothes into a donation box can feel like an act of selflessness. Those stained sweaters, summer camp T-shirts and out-of-fashion shorts will clothe someone needier, right?
It’s actually a little more complicated. Most of America’s castoff clothes are sold by the Salvation Army, Goodwill and others to private companies. Bales of used clothing are then shipped by the container-load, mostly to sub-Saharan Africa, in what has become a billion-dollar industry.
Three independent trade analysts questioned the industry’s job loss claims. “Those numbers sound absurdly high,” said Todd Moss, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs who is now a fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank.