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Kenya’s secondhand clothing imports rise to Sh28 in fiscal 2024


The value of second-hand clothing imports by Kenya during the fiscal year ending March 2024 increased to Sh28 billion.

As per latest trade data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the value of secondhand clothing imports by Kenya increased by 33.32 percent over the 12-month period.

The higher quality and relatively lower prices of used clothing continued to attract consumers, resulting in higher margins for traders, especially in informal markets.

The second-hand clothing market in Kenya is attracting several Chinese traders who plan to set up shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for second-hand goods. TeresiaWairimu, Chairperson, Mitumba Consortium Association of Kenya, notes, the number of people entering this business is increasing as it requireslittle investment

On average, a 40-ft container of used clothes costs about $50,000, including all taxes and clearance charges, say traders, KNBS data indicates, traders and households imported 206,580 tons of used clothes in the year ended March, marking a 14.53 percent increase from the previous year's 180,367 tons.

This surge in imports challenges President William Ruto’s efforts to boost the local garment and textile sector, seen as having significant potential for job creation and foreign exchange earnings through exports. The sector faces several challenges such as high labor costs and low agricultural productivity, which impacts its competitiveness in the garment export market, notes the 2024 Budget Policy Statement (BPS).


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