home arrow BUSINESS arrow Secondhand clothes from West flooding Nigeria’s markets

AP Business Video



Login Form






Lost Password?
No account yet? Register
DIGITAL EDITION
Secondhand clothes from West flooding Nigeria’s markets PDF Print E-mail
Written by LEKAN OYEKANMI   
Thursday, 27 September 2012

container.jpgLAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — At Nigeria's Katangua Market, that castaway from the West means big money.

Shipping container after shipping container arrives in the market in Lagos, filled to the brim with plastic-wrapped bales of secondhand clothes from the U.S. and elsewhere.

Traders scour, barter, hem and haw over T-shirts, bras, pants and shoes sent to help clothe a nation of more than 160 million people where the textile industry largely collapsed years ago.

But while much comes in as Western donations, those on the receiving end sell them instead of giving them away, creating a massive industry that makes it even harder for Nigeria’s remaining clothing manufacturers to compete against a tidal wave of cotton and polyester.

“More often than not what people call donations actually ends up been hijacked by people ... who profiteer from it,” said Diran Akinleye, an economics professor at the University of Lagos. “So even though it starts out in the U.S. or the (United Kingdom) as a donation, it ultimately becomes a business on this side.”

Katangua Market sits past the international airport, surrounded by suburbs of Nigeria's largest city. Piles of clothes ranging from jeans to underwear lay on the ground as traders pick through them, selecting what they want to buy. Some sell the clothes direct to customers while other buyers will take the items to shops in and outside of the city.

PITTSBURGH TO NY

Nearby, rows of tailors sit at foot-cranked sewing machines, repairing tears and resizing some large shirts. Piles of bras and panties litter the ground.

T-shirts bear strange, cryptic slogans, such as a cartoon character saying “No, no no!” A jersey with the No. 3 reads “Pittsburgh.” Other shirts are more recognizable, like an Obama 2008 campaign shirt or an “I Love NY” T-shirt on a woman sewing nearby.

“We need this clothing,” said clothing trader Sunny Nnjiofor. “Most of the factories that produce all this clothing materials have folded up.”

Some clothes sell here for three pieces to a $1, a bargain compared to locally made shirts. Traditional clothing still has its place, though increasingly poor women will wear a cloth wrapper around her waist while wearing a secondhand T-shirt from the U.S.  Western-style button-up shirts and pants also are increasingly worn by men.

SHAMBLES

Nigeria once had a thriving textile industry, largely based in the northern city of Kano. But in recent decades, as Nigeria’s state-run electricity company fell into shambles, the mills slowed and finally stopped.

Some companies, such as Omas Nigeria Ltd., still produce clothes for government agencies and private businesses, but making a profit has grown increasingly difficult as they depend on diesel generators for electricity.

While undercutting costs, the importation of donated clothing provides jobs in the country’s massive gray labor market. Tailors wander through streets here, snapping scissors to announce their presence. Salesmen drape the secondhand clothes over their arms, walking through neighborhoods to show off their wares.

Marketers decline to talk about how they source the clothes from abroad, but acknowledge much of it comes from donations. Some of it also is thought to be ferried over from neighboring Benin as contraband.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

busy
 
< Prev   Next >
 

STOCKS



Powered by Stock Trader
FTC:  Jerk.com Scammed ConsumersFTC: Jerk.com Scammed Consumers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission says the operators of a website called Jerk.com are the ones behaving badl...
Read more...
Google Glass, good for cooking, needs InternetGoogle Glass, good for cooking, needs Internet
NEW YORK — Google Glass is like a fickle friend. Surprises await, such as the time it took a photo of my ceiling while...
Read more...
Microsoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone featureMicrosoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone feature
NEW YORK — Microsoft unveiled a new virtual assistant for Windows Phone devices last Wednesday as it seeks to gain tra...
Read more...
‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded ‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded
A vivid and delightful animated spectacle, Rio 2 is chock-full of colorful 3-D wonder and jubilant musical numbers set ...
Read more...

The most influential African American weekly newspaper in South Florida

Beatty Media LLC