Recognising The Entrepreneurial Potentials In Aba 

Nmesoma Okwudili


February 16, 2024

Nigeria, as a nation, is home to numerous accomplished individuals and is abundantly blessed with both human and material resources. Despite these advantages, the nation faces hindrance from leaders who, regrettably, fall short in tapping into the inherent potential within its borders.

When it comes to international competitiveness, a country’s manufacturing capacity and entrepreneurial spirit are the most important aspects. Nigeria unfortunately has a small footprint in this regard, not due to a lack of natural ability, but rather because it has opted to forego opportunities to advance into a more competitive league.

Aba, located in the South-Eastern Zone of Nigeria’s Abia state, shows promise for robust industrial and economic growth. Most notably, Aba is a perfect example of the business dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit defining the broader region in Nigeria, known as Igboland. Nowadays, nearly all prosperous Igbo individuals recount compelling tales about Aba, underscoring the town’s substantial impact on the region.

Aba is well-known as a commercial hub, with skilled artisans including tailors, bag manufacturers, shoe crafters, and a plethora of other entrepreneurial operations, all of which are famous for the great quality of their products. The city earned the moniker ‘China of Africa’ for its remarkable manufacturing capabilities, robust entrepreneurial orientation, and unwavering ‘can-do’ spirit among its residents.

The success stories that are coming out of Aba are evidence that the people who live there are resilient and creative, and they have the ability to succeed in a variety of industries. Aba has the capacity to further establish its standing as a major player not just in Nigeria but also on the larger African and international economic scene by utilising its highly qualified workforce, encouraging innovation, and adopting a collaborative corporate climate. Improving infrastructure, assisting small enterprises, and fostering an environment conducive to industrial growth can propel Aba into a regional leader in innovation and economic prosperity.

Like Guangzhou, another big Chinese city, Aba is said by many analysts to have similar potential. Conversely, Nigeria’s GDP is approximately 451 billion, whereas Guangzhou’s economy is valued at about 437.7 billion. This suggests that Aba’s full potential remains untapped.

The potential for Nigeria to become a net exporter of shoes could be amplified through the development of the shoe industry in Aba. Despite the industry’s vast scale, with over 100,000 shoemakers, it still encounters challenges such as inadequate road and electricity networks, limited financial access, and reliance on outdated machinery for production.

The impending implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) holds the potential to significantly broaden the market scope for Aba’s shoe manufacturing industry, potentially leading to increased productivity. The industry has growth potential due to its current state, indicating it has not yet reached peak production and offers room for expansion to meet the rising demands of the market.

While the Nigerian domestic market continues to grow and compete successfully, producing over 500,000 pairs daily, there is a notable lack of documented data supporting the widely accepted belief that Aba shoes are sold to neighboring African countries.

The absence of documentation shows the informal nature of the shoe industry in Aba, emphasizing the necessity for a more organized and formalized approach to showcase the industry’s regional significance. Formalizing export activities by Aba’s shoe sector could enhance its legitimacy and propel regional economic integration at this crucial juncture, leveraging the new opportunities for trade and cooperation under the AfCFTA.

Nigeria still possesses untapped potential that requires unlocking through strategic vision and effective leadership. The country has all the necessary elements for success; its failure stems from a lack of understanding on how to maximize these resources to their fullest potential.

The necessity for comprehensive development policies that promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable growth must be acknowledged and prioritised by Nigerian authorities. By achieving this, Nigeria would be able to fully realise its potential and make a meaningful contribution to the international arena, positioning itself as a strong participant on the global scene.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles