In a bid to revitalise the region’s traditional leather sector, Sokoto state, in northern Nigeria has attracted international partnership towards the development of a leather tannery aimed at improving the production capacity of indigenous entity, Sokoto Shoe.
The latest firms to seek business opportunities are UK-based Pan African Enterprises and Asia-based Simple Factory Group, a footwear producer- a marriage of convenience credited to the state government’s Sokoto Investment Company Limited.
With a target of 2000 shoes per day, the output increase and further boost in quality could position Sokoto Shoe as a leading player in the leather goods industry increasing the continent’s export potential.
Nigeria’s leather industry is a network of production clusters with a concentration in a number of its cities such as Kano, Aba, Lagos, Sokoto and Onitsha. Leather produced from these centres are fashioned into footwear, bags, belts, and houseware by local workers.
While Nigeria exports a lot of its finished products, (estimates place its annual revenue at $100 million), the country imports about 5 times this value, leading local producers to compete with foreign manufacturers.
The country’s capacity to take up a large share of the global leather industry is, however, immense with its huge cattle population and age-long leather working tradition.
The partnership inches closer to accessing manufacturing and supply-chain advantages in the footwear sector to develop northern Nigeria’s productive capacity. Operations are expected to begin next year.
PAE’s chief executive, Dawn Spetale says “Simple is a natural partner for us to develop our vision in Nigeria with Sokoto Shoe”
“Teaming up with such a well-established producer allows us to leverage its networks, experience and marketing know-how from the past 30 years.
We’re excited that some of our staff will get training in Asia through Simple, as this will greatly enhance our production capacity and quality control from the outset,” Spetale adds.