The first video, titled “where are your shoes made?” Opens with a young white woman walking up a stairway, and a voice from the background says: “Nice bag”. Then next the same voice admires a white guy’s shoes, and goes further to ask where the shoes are made. ” I think they are made in Italy “. A young woman on the scene says “definitely from Europe”. The same voice asks her is she is sure, and she replies ” they have a European feel”. The voice now goes ahead to break the news to her that the shoes were made in Aba, Nigeria.
These short scenes open up to series of videos created by the made in Aba campaign. These videos are also featured on the website. The videos extensively discuss the open market of millions leather and textile products found in that industrial town. And also how the main facilitators of the market work hard everyday to contribute immensely to products that are churned out from Aba. The videos feature words from popular Nigerian artiste -RuffCoin, who talks a bit about the discipline of the average Aba business man or woman in business among other things.
For some of the traders and craftsmen in Aba, leather and textile are probably the only business they’ve done all their lives, and many have been able to raise families and live comfortably by their trade. Buty still, for a market that produces almost a million leather products daily, there still remain a log of issues the craftsmen have to deal with daily. And one of them is the quality of the ‘finishing’. Mazi Okechukwu, a business man in Aba is of the opinion that there is no big deal about Italian made shoes, all that is there is the quality of the finishing which is neater than Aba made leather shoes. And that is because, the Italian and European leather industries make use of machines to handle tasks that are handled by human fingers in Aba. But rather than hinge on this downside, this is the more reason why investors should invest in the Aba industrial revolution which has been on for over two decades.
In April 2017, the Abia state government signed a $1.5 billion deal with Huajian Shoe Industry to bolster the growth of Aba’s shoe industry. The expectation is that the deal will bring about 10,000 direct jobs and 50,000 indirect jobs.
Recently the Nigerian Federal Government has done a little to back up all the noise they have been making about bolstering Nigerian made products. I feel that rather than pay lip-service to the concept, the Federal Government should take a deep look into the idea of rebuilding and restructuring the China of Africa – Aba.
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