The Nigerian leather industry has steadily contributed an estimated N85 billion annually to Nigeria’s GDP since 2009. Besides the formal exports to the European market, the sector is expected to contribute an estimated N12 billion in informal exports to West Africa annually.
Nigeria has a thriving export market; the skin of Nigeria’s red Sokoto goat commands a premium in the international market, especially in Italy. With a large domestic and regional animal population, all of the resources for tanning and producing leather are available locally. The strategic utilisation of these resources could see Nigeria greatly increase its market share of the global leather and leather goods market worth $72 billion.
The Lagos Leather Fair is a purely private initiative dreamed up a few years ago in a bid to address the persistent and considerable challenges which continue to affect the Nigerian leather industry.
The time had come to find out why Nigeria’s leather industry with so much potential to become the second major foreign exchange earner after the oil and gas industry was lagging behind.
“On paper, it was obvious that to ensure a secure future for the leather goods industry, the fundamentals of a large raw material supply chain, skilled labour and appropriate machinery had to be put in place.”
Beyond that there is an urgent need to operate more efficiently and be more innovative and technologically savvy. It has become absolutely essential to put in place the appropriate structures along the entire value chain, from raw material, to retail in order to become more productive and competitive. We knew for sure that we certainly could not continue to lag behind in the areas of research and development, product finishing, innovation, logistics, marketing and branding.
“This is why I founded The Lagos Leather fair, to bring together major players and stakeholders in the leather value chain in order to start a necessary conversation to move the sector forward and to act,” said Femi Olayebi, Founder of Femo Handbags & the Lagos Leather Fair.