It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.


Growing Nigeria's Leather Industry

Akinkunmi Akingbade

Akinkunmi Akingbade

Akin is a Consultant and Writer with a background in Development Economics. He previously worked at Ventures Africa.

Leather products are present in almost every Nigerian home. The aesthetic appeal of shoes, bags, clothing, and other finished leather products (FLP) remains a desire for most of us and indeed, the rest of the world. Despite this obvious demand, FLPs and the broader textile, apparel and footwear industry is struggling to hit its full potential

In 2019, the textile, apparel and footwear industry-a subsector of Nigeria's manufacturing sector had a negative GDP performance. The industry declined by 0.09%, the second time the industry has experienced negative growth in the last four years. 


Hindrance to growth

Let's examine the footwear industry which consumes about 54% of leather production globally.

One reason behind the industry's weak growth is disintegration in the local value chain. Shoemakers say sourcing for leather locally is a gruelling feat as a lot of the leather produced locally - at tanneries in Kano and Kaduna -  is exported to foreign countries. 

A flaw in the value chain suggests Nigeria has an underproduction problem. Vietnam, with a population of 96 million, has an annual production capacity of 760 million pairs. Nigeria, on the other hand, produces 48 million shoes from its local production epi-centre- Aba, which houses the largest shoe clusters in Nigeria. 

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