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Kenya’s used clothes industry still in recovery after COVID-19 disruptions

Kenya’s vibrant secondhand clothes and footwear industry is still in the recovery process months after the government lifted a ban imposed on the importation of the goods following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ban, imposed in March as a precautionary health measure, seriously affected traders and customers in the industry, whose goods are popularly known as ‘mitumba’.

Many traders saw their businesses decline while some were forced out of the industry altogether as they wound up their businesses or opted to search for work opportunities in other fields.

Customers, meanwhile, stayed away following the imposition of a night-time curfew and an order against mass gatherings.

CGTN spoke to some traders in Nairobi’s Gikomba market, one of the largest and busiest secondhand clothes markets in the country, to find out their thoughts on the lifting of the ban, the phased re-opening of the economy and the state of their businesses.

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