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The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) is to finance a project to help promote the leather goods’ sector in Aba, the main commercial hub of the Abia State, South East Nigeria.
The project called MADE, Market for Development, is a step further on the GEMS1 (Growth and Employment in States), a programme jointly funded by the World Bank and DFID to support the Nigerian meat and leather industry. The aim of MADE is to assist Aba’s finished leather goods’ sector to have access to the international market, increase their economic activity and trade, create jobs and raise incomes of the artisans. It targets sustainable improvements using an approach that has been named “Marking Markets Work Better for the Poor” (M4P).
Terry Lacey, a team leader at MADE, says the project will help local trade to gain access to finance by attracting investors and funding from banks as well as to appropriate technology and markets. It will also help to identify gaps within the leather cluster and deal with them effectively so as not to hinder sector growth. “We will also try and help pull the leather value chain together to present it well to government and international organisations and that is our main focus”, he precises.
Lacey believes the time is right to boost Nigeria’s production of shoes, bags and handbags and help it gain international recognition. The members of the Leather Producers Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS) have shown strong motivation during the meeting held on June 16 to make the sector move forward, during which Lacey stated that “we will be making fresh beginnings, we have a new government at the federal level as well as at the state and there is a lot of energy in the small enterprises, among the farmers and among all these artisans and manufacturers, who are working on leather”.
Source: Business Day