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India, Nigerian firm partner to boost retail textile sector

By Adaku Onyenucheya and Ngozi Egenuka
30 December 2021   |   3:15 am
Leoht Africa has partnered with the Indian Chamber of Commerce to boost the retail sector of Nigeria's textile industry and position it as a leading hub in the Central and West African market.

Inside a moribund textile company in Kaduna

Leoht Africa has partnered with the Indian Chamber of Commerce to boost the retail sector of Nigeria’s textile industry and position it as a leading hub in the Central and West African market.

According to the Managing Director, Leoht Africa, Bunmi Aliyu, the partnership aims to build a yearly and sustainable international sourcing platform for organisations to trade and secure orders from corporate buyers and resellers.

Aliyu disclosed this at the 2021 edition of the Source Textile and Apparel and Retail Sourcing Fair West Africa Exhibitions.

She said the past two years have been a challenge with the effects of COVID-19 and its impact on travel as well as the ability to trade, travel and meet new suppliers.

She noted that the Nigerian retail sector has survived, adapted and thrived despite the challenges, just as research by the Global Retail Development Index, showed that Nigeria is the leading retail market in Africa with $295bn of retail sales recorded in 2020.

“We focus solely on showcasing the best textile, home and gift products and brands to local buyers. The concentration of professional visitors from this targeted sector ensures that everyone you meet at the exhibition will be a useful connection,” Aliyu added.

On his part, the Regional Director, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata, Debmalya Banerjee, said the textile sector in Nigeria was one of the largest private employers in the past as it provided employment to over one million Nigerians and had always been a major player in the manufacturing sector of the economy.

He said the large vibrant consumer market, talented and enterprising young population, attractive geographical location and launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), provide the right opportunity for Nigeria to become a leading textile hub in the Central and West African market.

Banerjee said India, with its position as one of the largest cotton growers in the world and producers of textiles, is capable of helping Nigeria in reviving its textile and apparel sector.

He revealed that India is working to boost its technical textile industry and would be willing to partner with and support Nigeria in terms of provision of textile machinery, technology, capacity building and training in the entire textile value chain.

Banerjee said, while Nigeria is diversifying its economy to boost non-oil revenue and is focused on strengthening its agricultural and manufacturing capacity, the textile sector offers tremendous opportunities.

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the India-West Africa trade offers an opportunity to rethink ways in which people do business, trade and investment across countries and continents.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Head, Public Affairs, Office of Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Sanusi Abdulateef, said people should explore ways of ramping up the use of new and emerging technologies to improve the trade and business environment, and to maximise the benefits of global trade.

He, however, commended the Government of India for its partners with Nigeria, as well as the “Look Africa Policy”, which recognises the immense potential of Africa as the home of the world’s largest free trade area by number of participating countries and the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Sanwo-Olu said the partnership, which is not just for Nigeria but for the entire West Africa, is very necessary, especially as the countries move into the implementation stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).