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Using their strong financial muscle and networks in China, the Chinese pull the strings of the supply chains of various goods, including mitumba clothes, from importation, wholesale, down to retail.
I love Kenya because anybody who hawks Mitumba (second-hand clothes) in Gikomba or by the help of a 'sponsor' has managed to set up a stall, the size of a public toilet, and sells imported cloths calls herself a business lady, never mind that she has never stepped out of the country.
But there are divided opinions about mitumba, a mixed reaction to what are essentially cast-off imports.
Washington sees stopping of used clothing imports, known as Mitumba in east African nations, as a blockage of free trade.
Places with very high FRD (higher than 50 fl [km.sup.-2] [yr.sup.-1]) are extensively located over the Congo basin; the coastal zones of Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen; and near several mountain regions, such as the Andes, Sierra Madre Mountains (at the west coast from northern Mexico to Guatemala), western highlands of the Cameroon line, Mitumba Mountains, Himalayas, and mountain ranges in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Rivoli follows the economic 'trail' of an ordinary t-shirt, from the cotton in the t-shirt grown in West Texas, to the yarn, fabric and stitching in China, to the 'mitumba' trade of recycled clothing in East Africa.
Material examined: TANZANIA: Kigoma Region: Gombe National Park, Mitumba stream, 4[degrees]38.405'S 29[degrees]37.823'E, 776 m, 29.vii.2010, R.W.
Trezia moved to Kasekela in 1991, coming from the neighboring Mitumba group.
Far away in Tanzania, a young man proudly wears a T-shirt imprinted with the logo of an American basketball team while shopping at the local mitumba market for pants that will fit his slender figure.
Pietra Rivoli, Associate Professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, tells her t-shirt's story with the sharp eye of an economist and an obvious affection for all those involved in its tortuous global journey--from the cotton fields of West Texas to the factories of Shanghai to a screen printing shop in Miami and a drugstore in Fort Lauderdale and then, unexpectedly, to a Salvation Army drop-off in suburban Maryland, a used clothing trader in Brooklyn and the mitumba shops of Tanzania.
The mitumba trade, as it is known, is a free-trade success story in the unlikeliest of places.