The IRON List - October 12, 2017

1. Industry: No More Hand-Me-Downs

There’s usually a juncture where good intentions further exacerbate problems. Such is the case with charitable donations. Today the New York Times reports on how clothing donations to Africa are stifling the growth of the indigenous textile industry - meaning companies in countries like Burundi and Rwanda can’t sell their clothing items for profit because of the huge influx of used clothing from the United States and abroad.

So several African countries are taking steps to curb imports and give their local businesses room to grow - but at a price. As Africa raises its tariffs on U.S. clothing imports, America does the same in retaliation - targeting African products like coffee and oil. Experts and country leaders are comparing this to a form of new colonialism, but most are determined to sacrifice short-term losses for the long-term benefit of breaking off these manipulative economic relationships. There is still a need, however, to balance this with incremental changes that don’t burn bridges to future, mutually beneficial trade agreements.

“Vital ingredients for [building a textile industry] are still missing, and cutting off imports of used clothing alone is unlikely to fix the problem...Energy and transportation costs in Rwanda are among the highest in Africa, there is a dearth of skilled workers in tailoring and light manufacturing, and imports of high-quality materials like fabric and yarn are prohibitively expensive.” --New York Times, “For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports.”

“South Africa is facing turbulent times, of that there is no doubt, but the K-Way story shows us that a slow but sure journey towards eliminating waste, creating greater respect for people and continuously engaging how to do both these things better – as well as wise collaboration within the industry and with government, it is possible to turn things around, one KPI Key Performance Indicator at a time.” --Fin24, “The great textile turnaround.”

“But the new factory is not for Nigerians only; it is expected to serve the entire African continent, producing high quality garments for the African Market. It will also provide a ready market for African farmers growing cotton, sisal, and other raw materials.” --Face2Face Africa, “What the Establishment of Africa’s Largest Textile Plant in Nigeria Means to the Continent.”

“According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Industry, Ethiopia has earned close to 90 million U.S. dollars from the textile and garment sector during the just concluded Ethiopian 2016/2017 fiscal year, largely from industries installed in newly built industrial parks across the country such as the Chinese-built Hawassa industrial park.” --New China, “Ethiopia hosts Africa's main textile, apparel trade show.”

2. Research: The White Man’s Burden (Book Recommendation)

A recommended accompaniment to the reading above, The White Man’s Burden grapples with why “the West” attempts to save developing nations, and how that causes more harm than good. The book can be purchased in hard copy on Amazon, but is also available as an audiobook on Audible.

3. Opportunities: Paid, Volunteer and Competitive

Ad Solutions Manager, Canada at Spotify

Special call for UN Volunteers

Job opportunities at World Vision

4. Networking: Free Lectures Presented by NYU Langone Health

If you are an aspiring or current healthcare practitioner, you may be interested in a series of lectures hosted (for free) at New York University. The next is scheduled for Tuesday, October 17th and topics covered include: “Understanding Your Healthcare Team”, “Rehabilitation Options for Multiple Sclerosis”, and “Breast Cancer: Controversies in Screening.” Learn more here.