• President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on the Association of Mitumba Importers in Kenya (AMIK) to embrace the development of the textiles sector in the country.

    President Kenyatta acknowledged the critical role the Mitumba (second-hand) sector has played and continues to play in clothing many Kenyans, in addition to creating jobs, especially for young people.

    Nevertheless, he noted it was time for the industry to promote the local manufacturing and grow high-value jobs while ensuring that the Mitumba business goes on without interruption.

    “There is a need to provide competitive alternatives for Mitumba traders through Kenyan manufactured apparel, to be sourced locally at competitive prices whilst ensuring the adequate supply of good quality products,” the President said.

    In a statement by Manoah Esipisu, State House spokesperson, the head of state noted that promoting ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ was part of his administration’s effort to grow the local textiles industry.

    The president was speaking to a group of 25 AMIK members in a meeting held at State House to discuss how to grow Kenya’s textiles sector. The meeting agreed to collaborate to address issues that currently affect the second-hand clothes market, known by its famed name “Mitumba”.

    “Ultimately, the key was for the Mitumba industry to slowly move into the new clothes market, supporting local production and local jobs,” the President said.

    During the recent 17th Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania, the meeting agreed to grow textiles and leather industries in East African region. One of the ways to promote the local industries was identified as curbing the importation of second-hand clothes and footwear.

    Member countries were encouraged to devise mechanisms to slowly empower individual industries with an aim of stopping the second-hand imports in the next few years.

    AMIK thanked the President for giving them an audience and listening to their issues whilst at the same time providing innovative solutions to help them grow their business.

    Among those in attendance included: Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Investment and Trade, Adan Mohamed and his Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo, as well as National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich also attended the meeting.

    The representatives of AMIK were led by their executive committee and were also accompanied by Hon Yusuf Hassan Abdi (MP Kamukunji Constituency), Hon. Maina Kamanda (MP Starehe Constituency) and Hon Kenneth Irungu (MCA for the area covering Gikomba market- known for its flourishing business in second-hand items).

    Image credit: AFP/Getty images