Noticing the Nuances of Uganda’s Neoliberalism

Authors: Meraal Hakeem*, University of Texas at Austin
Topics: Economic Geography, Africa
Keywords: Uganda, Neoliberalism, Secondhand Clothing, Trade, Development, Society, Economics
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


According to UN Comtrade Database, Uganda is in the top 15 of global importers of used clothing, an industry with a global wholesale value of $3.7 billion. In 2015, Uganda alone imported 1,261 tons of worn clothing, worth almost $67 million. A closer look at the used clothing industry unravels the intricacies of Uganda’s neoliberalized government and economy. The industry accounts for 81% of all clothing purchases in the country and Uganda’s Cotton and Apparel sector alone employs 2.5 million people, according to the African Centre for Trade and Development. However, controversial, proposed second-hand clothing bans in the country make these values susceptible to change and could have gargantuan effects on employment and neoliberalism in the country. My research will dissect these discrepancies and answer questions regarding how neoliberal policies have affected the local textile industries in the global south, particularly in Uganda. I will assess the degree to which Uganda has neoliberalized over the past 25 years and, by collaborating with business librarians at my current institution, will formulate methods to quantitatively analyze how neoliberalism can be measured by analyzing data from the UN Comtrade Database and looking at tariffs on imports, openness to international trade and different criteria in regards to global economic standing, assessing the impacts of a potential secondhand clothing ban on both Uganda’s neoliberalist economy and society.

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